Medical billers and coders help ensure that healthcare facilities and their health information data are organized. “They ensure its quality, accuracy, accessibility, and security in both paper and electronic systems. They use various classification systems to code and categorize patient information for insurance reimbursement purposes, for databases and registries, and to maintain patients’ medical and treatment histories,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Due to an aging population, the demand for medical billers and coders are expected to grow at 22% from 2012 to 2022.
State, local and private general medical hospitals employed 37% of medical billers and coders in 2012. Physician’s offices, nursing care facilities and the government are also some of the other workplaces which may employ them. Medical billers and coders generally work in offices, spending time in front of computer monitors. They held about 186,300 jobs in May of 2012.
The majority of medical billers and coders work full time at establishments which have 24/7 operations (I.e. hospitals) and may have evening or overnight shifts.
According to the 2011 annual salary survey carried out by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), salaries earned by medical billing and coding specialists differ commonly by job duties and geographic area.
The median annual wage for health information technicians in May 2012 was $34,160. The BLS states that the median wage is the “wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less.” The bottom 10 percent earned less than $22,250, while the upper 10 percent earned more than $56,200.
Location may play a part in the wages of medical billers and coders. In the states of California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii and Alaska, the typical salary for all medical billers and medical coders is $57,334.00 per year. In New England, the average annual salary is $47,852.00. The average annual salary is $39,830.00 in places where the cost of living is lower, like in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama.
Medical billing and transcription from home is usually done by experienced individuals who may demand higher salaries. They may become consultants, research code methodology, auditors, and provide guidance and opinion on various coding and billing issues. However, opening up a business at home also means expenses in areas like health insurance, office maintenance and tax payments without the aid of an employer.
It may also be arranged with the current employer if they would allow work from home opportunities for medical billers and coders whom are qualified. With this arrangement, employees may work out their compensation plan with their place of employment.
Experienced medical billers and coders are aware of the various government healthcare programs, medical policies of insurance companies and the International Classification of Diseases, 9th or 10th Edition, Clinical Modification. They may already advise the healthcare facility on documentation requirements as well as billing and coding strategies and be able to spot and prevent fraud.
Education and Training
A postsecondary certificate, associate’s degree or professional certification is needed in order to qualify for this occupation.
Mark Acantilado is currently a part of Meditec.com, a division of 360training.com that aims to provide career training programs online as well as MyCAA programs for military spouses.