How Much Do Medical Coding Specialists Earn?
Medical billing and coding specialists link patients, physicians, medical facilities, and insurance companies. They are responsible for making sure insurers have complete and accurate information and that patients are billed accurately. Without medical billing and coding specialists, healthcare organizations would experience bill payment delays, unpaid accounts, and chaotic patient data.
Medical billing and coding professionals are essential to proper functioning of the healthcare system.
The coding aspect of the job involves generating inpatient or outpatient records, and the billing aspect of the job involves processing billing records based on diagnoses, treatments, and insurance coverage. Most of these professionals learn their skills by attending a medical billing and coding school.
Where Medical Billing and Coding Specialists Work?
Doctor’s offices, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities are the main places that medical billing and coding professionals work. These facilities may be located in busy urban centers, suburban business districts, or small towns.
It is also possible for medical billing and coding specialists to work for insurance companies as claims monitors, for government agencies as auditors, for healthcare consulting firms, or as an independent medical billing and coding specialist working from home.
Billing and coding specialists who work independently from home via secure internet connection may have very flexible hours. Those who work in hospitals and other medical facilities generally work standard Monday-through-Friday daytime shifts for 40 hours per week.
How Much They Earn
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the median annual salary of medical billing and coding specialists in 2012 was $34,160 per year, or $16.42 per hour. Other salary ranges quoted for these professionals are $34,000 to $57,000 per year, and $38,000 to $50,000 per year. Most full-time jobs for medical billing and coding specialists include fringe benefits like health insurance and retirement plans. Professionals with medical billing and coding certification make on average $7,000 per year more than those without certification. Certification also makes it easier to find a job with flexible hours and telecommuting.
The part of the salary range a particular person ends up at depends on certification, location, and experience. Those with experience in certain sub-specialties, like rheumatology or neuropsychology can earn even higher salaries.
How People Become Medical Coding Specialists?
Achieving medical billing and coding certification generally requires that a person attend medical billing and coding school to prepare for certification exams. Programs should offer training in all areas of medical billing and coding for inpatient and outpatient settings. Upon completion of coursework, the student can sit for the Certified Professional Biller (CPB) exam, the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) exam, and the Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC) exam.
Coursework covers anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, and healthcare business practices. Students also learn the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) 9th and 10th revisions, which are critical to the business operations of every medical facility. Medical billing and coding certification isn’t mandatory for employment, but certification can help students land a job and demand a higher salary.
Why Now Is a Great Time to Become a Medical Billing and Coding Specialist?
Starting in October 2015, medical facilities that have been using ICD-9 coding will have to make the transition to ICD-10 coding. This is a major undertaking and means that medical facilities of all types will be hiring those with medical billing and coding certification, particularly those who have experience with ICD-10.
Demand for these professionals is expected to remain strong in coming years for a number of reasons. Electronic health records rely on accurate, consistent coding. Now that more Americans have health insurance, medical billing will remain strong. And because the population is aging and requiring more medical services, medical billing and coding specialists will be necessary to keep track of it all.
Attending medical billing and coding school and obtaining certification is a smart career path for the person who isn’t afraid of hard work and wants the opportunity to earn a great salary and benefits in the healthcare field. Facilities everywhere need medical billing and coding professionals, and cities with major healthcare centers have particularly high demand for them.
The medical billing and coding certification program at SOCHi trains students in every aspect of medical billing and coding for both inpatient and outpatient settings and prepares them for the certification exams. To find out more about SOCHi’s medical billing and coding certification programs, please contact us at any time or complete our information request form.
Revision Disclaimer: As of September of 2018, SOCHi no longer provides AAPC certification for our Medical Billing & Coding students through our curriculum. As our students grow and learn to discover their abilities at SOCHi, so does our curriculum! Our curriculum is adapting and growing to accommodate our diverse student body. Stay tuned to see how SOCHi is growing to assist you on your journey to success!