Medical billing and coding are essential aspects of the healthcare industry. Even though billers and coders play crucial roles in documenting patient visits and ensuring accurate payment for medical services, many people may be unaware of how much the career path pays. However, you may be interested to know that medical billers and coders make good money without needing extensive education.
Let’s dive into the average salaries of certified and non-certified medical billers and coders and look at how much salaries increase with experience. And if you’re not quite sure what medical billing and coding specialists actually do and where they work, then don’t worry. We’ll cover that, too.
What Do Medical Billers and Coders Do?
In a nutshell, medical billers and coders are responsible for converting medical information into codes that insurance companies and government agencies can understand and process for payment. Coders review medical records and clinical data, assigning codes for each diagnosis, treatment, and procedure performed by a healthcare provider. Insurance companies then use these codes to determine how much to pay for the visit or service.
Medical billers, on the other hand, use those codes to create a bill to send to the insurance company. They’re responsible for making sure the insurance company pays the correct amount for each service provided. If there are errors or discrepancies in the billing process, then they work with the healthcare provider and insurance company to resolve the issue. Sometimes one person does both the coding and the billing. Other times they’re separate positions.
While you might not be very familiar with medical billers and coders, they do important work. Billers and coders work behind the scenes to make sure medical providers get paid accurately for their services. Working closely with insurance companies and healthcare providers, they ensure everyone’s on the same page and that the billing process runs smoothly. Without their essential work, the healthcare industry would struggle to function seamlessly.
How Much Do Medical Billers and Coders Make?
Medical billing and coding is a growing field with strong earning potential. On average, medical records specialists, also called medical billers and coders, earn $55,389 per year. The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) says that figure is an average of both certified and non-certified billers and coders. However, there’s a significant difference in pay between certified and non-certified specialists.
Non-certified billers and coders earn an average of $46,321 annually, while their certified counterparts earn an average of $56,290 per year. That’s a difference of about $10,000. And according to the source, extra certifications can lead to higher pay. For example, those with two AAPC credentials earn an average of $66,198 per year, and those with three or more AAPC credentials earn an average of $71,361 per year.
Experience is another factor that affects medical billing and coding salaries. The source says billers and coders with at least 31 years of experience can expect to make about $35,000 more than those just starting out in the field. So, those who stay in the field have the potential to continue earning more the longer they work. In short, the career path offers competitive salaries and opportunities to make even more money.
Where Do Medical Records Specialists Work?
Medical billers and coders work in a variety of healthcare facilities. For example, hospitals, physician’s offices, and outpatient care centers employ medical records specialists. These professionals may work individually or be part of a larger department within the healthcare facility.
Another option for medical records specialists is to work from home. With advancements in technology, many healthcare facilities now offer remote work opportunities. No matter where they work, medical billers and coders spend a significant amount of time in front of computer screens.
What’s the Outlook for Medical Records Specialists?
If you’re considering a career in medical billing and coding, then you’ll be interested to know the outlook is bright. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts jobs for medical records specialists will increase by 7% from 2021 to 2031. As a result, an average of nearly 15,000 job openings are expected each year over the next decade.
There’s not only a high demand for medical billers and coders but also a skills gap in the job market. The National Healthcareer Association (NHA) reports that 26% of employers find it difficult to hire qualified medical billing and coding specialists. However, 68% of employers say newly-certified specialists are ready to do their jobs.
Those interested in entering the field may want to look into certifications because they’re a way to distinguish yourself during the hiring process. In other words, certifications can help you get hired, succeed at the job, and make more money. Medical billing and coding is a field with a positive job outlook and high demand for skilled workers.
Taking Steps To Succeed as a Medical Billing and Coding Specialist
The field of medical billing and coding is stable and pays well. Perhaps the most appealing part? You don’t need to spend years in school to become a medical biller and coder. Many employers don’t require associate degrees or bachelor’s degrees. Instead, obtaining a certification is a way to learn the necessary skills and stand out during the hiring process.
Medical billing and coding is an in-demand career path. It offers the flexibility of working in a variety of healthcare facilities and even opportunities to work remotely from home. Since employers struggle to find qualified candidates and increased job openings are forecasted, this could be a good time to enter the field of medical billing and coding.