How to Save on Broadband

Hey Allen School Online students!  I know you use a broadband connection to do your studies of Medical Billing and Coding over the internet.  And I know that you probably also have a telephone and a television too.  As such, you definitely have accounts with providers of wireless, cable and broadband services.  You probably have an account or accounts with a company like Cablevision, Time Warner, Verizon, AT&T or many of the other companies providing services.  So how would you like to learn how to get some deep discounts on the monthly bills you receive from these providers?  Here’s the secret:  You just have to ask! Over at Lifehacker, there is a great post on how to ask for an almost always receive discounts on your connectivity services.  Read it and you can thank me later!

Don’t Miss Out on Education Tax Credits

So, the tax season is upon us.  Time to dig out all your last year’s receipts, paycheck stubs, W-2s, 1099s and any other income and expense related materials.  However you choose to make your filing — on your own, with the help of a service provider like HR Block or Jackson Hewitt, or online with a program like TurboTax — you should know that there are some pretty significant deductions you can claim for monies you spent in pursuit of online education with Allen School Online.  Now I am not an accountant and I don’t suggest you take this material as legally qualified tax planning advice.  But there are places you can go to find out about the deductions you may be entitled to for spending time and money studying medical office assistant and/or medical billing and coding.  Start here for a pretty good overview of what you can reasonably deduct.  The list includes tuition, interest paid on educational loans, cost of books, supplies and materials and other school-related expenses.  Depending on your level of income, you may or may not derive benefit from these deductions, but its worth a few extra minutes to look into what you may qualify for.  After all, why leave money on the table?

A Heart Attack on a Bun

We’ve all made this joking reference before to fatty fast foods that we love, but that are less than healthy to consume.  Regular readers of the Allen School Online Blog know that we love to cover stories about horrible fast foods.  From KFC’s gruesome Double Down sandwich to the greasy McDonald’s McGriddle breakfast sandwich.  As entrants into the field of medical office assisting, you’re bound to endure a lifetime of dealing with people who suffer the maleffects of eating this kind of diet.  Just look at the case of the man that suffered a heart attack while eating something called the “Triple Bypass Burger” (see photo) at a place in Las Vegas known as the Heart Attack Grill.  You may be as disgusted as I was to learn that this 8000 calorie monstrosity of a sandwich is not the largest one on their menu (see the Quadruple Bypass Burger to be truly impressed/repulsed).  So yes, the victim in this story did indeed suffer a heart attack while eating a Triple Bypass Burger at the Heart Attack Grill.  Is anyone surprised?  Always looking for stories about horrible dietary abuses so if you know of any places or stories like this one, please share with me in the comments.  Now go eat a spinach salad!  Happy Friday students!

What Can You Expect Salary-Wise With Your Certification?

For excellent information on the salary ranges you might expect to earn as a medical billing and coding professional or medical office assistant, I recommend the site: www.simplyhired.com.  There you can enter in the position you’re expecting to fill once you’ve completed your course of study at the Allen School Online.  It also offers functionality to search average earnings by location.  So if you plan to move to Tulsa to start your career, you can see what the market looks like for your job description.  The good news is that in the New York metro area, the average salary for medical billing and coding professionals in listed at $50,000/year.

The Best and Worst of Fast Food Burgers

As part of this blog’s ongoing series highlighting some of the best things and worst things to put into your body, I offer health.com’s recently published list of the best and worst fast food burgers (from a health perspective).  Now as a rule, burgers are probably not the healthiest thing you could choose to eat.  But you might be surprised to learn that some seemingly healthier options are among the worst in terms of sodium, fat and caloric content.  Whereas some sure fire artery bombs are actually not so bad comparatively.  Does your favorite burger make either of the lists here?  Share in the comments.  Then, my Allen School Online students of medical billing and coding, get out from behind your computer and go eat a salad!  LOL!

Happy Change Your Passwords Day!

Online students of the Allen School use their computers for a lot more than the average person.  And although your course work may not be something of value to would be thieves, it is safe to say that you probably also do your banking online and other financial management activities.  This is why it is so important to have strong passwords in place on your more sensitive accounts like credit card accounts, mortgage accounts, medical records and other information you’d not want in the hands of some scammer.  Unfortunately, since we all have so many passwords to remember these days, it can seem like a shortcut to make your passwords easy to remember.   Passwords like “12345” or “password” are so easily hacked, its a wonder that you haven’t yet been the victim of identity theft if you use these easy-peasies.  So today is Change Your Password Day and the good geeks over at LifeHacker have put together a good bunch of information on this topic.  Read it here and then set about solidifying your defenses against the hordes of scammers just looking for an easy way into your personal information online.

CNN: Healtcare Jobs a Bright Spot For Hiring

CNN recently reported on something that as an Allen School Online student you’re likely already hip to.  If you’ve not yet decided to study medical billing and coding or medical office assistant with Allen School Online, you should read this article from Yahoo! Education entitled, “How to Prepare for a Booming Health Career”.  The money quote:“Statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor show that 3.2 million jobs will be created from 2008-2018. And according to a July 2011 CNN Money article, “Health care jobs a bright spot for hiring,” an aging population and health care reform will most likely lead to an increased demand for health care workers.”Success in life is often all about timing.  With that in mind, you might agree after reading the above linked piece, that this is an excellent time to pursue a career in the medical office.

Doing Away With Spam

So you spend alot of time online and tethered to your online responsibilities like studying medical billing and coding at the Allen School Online.  This means you most definitely understand the time-sucking, productivity-draining effects of spam.  From scores of unwanted emails and text messages every day to unsolicited advertisements on Facebook to the always annoying telemarketing phone calls, many of us spend a not insignificant portion of every day (while we should be working/studying) opening and then deleting unwanted messages or “Spam” as this exquisite little inconvenience has come to be referred to.  Heck, I even get too much junk mail in the old snail mail box.  So how does one effectively do away with all this unwanted canned meat-product?  The nerds over at Lifehacker.com have compiled the definitive list of strategies for eliminating the spam from all inboxes, virtual or dirt-world.  Click here for the secrets of a Spam-free existence!

SOPA and PIPA – What it All Means

Well online students of medical billing and coding, did you notice that yesterday, Wikipedia and many other favorite websites were intentionally darkened to protest something called SOPA and PIPA?  Made it rather tough to do any research for your Allen School Online course work I imagine.  It did succeed in raising the awareness about these two pieces of legislation being considered in the US House of Representatives and Senate respectively.  Both bills are nominally intended to combat the very real problem of online piracy of intellectual property.  Through illegal downloads of music, movies, artwork and other copyrighted materials, producers of these items lose billions annually.  The opponents of these bills are not pro-piracy, but they point out that the legislation as written, would provide an unchecked power to industry and government to shut down any website that is even accused of hosting pirated materials.  Your mashup of Justin Bieber and Spongebob Squarepants on Youtube?  That’d be plenty enough for a complainant to get Youtube shut down.  Supporters of these bills, the Recording Industry of America and bigtime TV and movie studios suggest that this is not the case.   Here is a quick primer on the bills and the controversy courtesy of CBS News.  Have a look at it and then share with us in the comments your opinion on the matter.  As online denizens, this legislation has an absolute impact on your life.  Learn, form an opinion and be heard!