If you are looking for a home-based job using your computer, advertisements for medical billing may be appealing. These ads appear on the Internet and in the classified sections of local newspapers. They often claim that you can make as much as $20,000 to $45,000 a year working from home full - or part-time - no experience required. The Better Business Bureau warns consumers to be careful. By responding to such ads you may be asked to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for software and other materials.
Complaints to the BBB about medical billing opportunities allege misrepresentation of potential earnings, software that does not perform as promised and misrepresentation of the market for medical billing services. The reality is that few consumers who pay for medical billing opportunities find clients or make any money, let alone earn the promised substantial income.
Competition in the medical billing market is fierce, especially for those who are new to it. Many doctors' offices process their own medical claims. Doctors who contract out their medical billing typically use established firms, not individuals working from home.
To avoid losing your money to a bogus medical billing business opportunity, the BBB and the Federal Trade Commission advise you to:
- Ask the promoter to give you the names of many previous purchasers so that you can pick and choose whom to call for references. Interview the references to get a better sense of how the business works. Ask for the names of their clients and a description of their operation.
- Consult with organizations for medical claims processors or medical billing businesses and with doctors in your community. Ask them about the medical billing field: How much of a need is there for this type of work? How much work does medical billing entail? What kind of training is required?
- Check with the BBB, state Attorney General's office and the consumer protection agency in your area and the area where the promoter is based to learn whether there are any unresolved complaints about the business opportunity or the promoter.
- If the medical billing opportunity sells another company's software, check with the software company to find out whether company representatives know of any problems with the medical billing promoter.
- Before you sign an agreement, consult with an attorney, accountant or other business advisor.
If you have a complaint about a company offering medical billing business opportunities contact your BBB (www.bbb.org).