Medical Coding and Billing Salary: Expectation vs. Reality

medical billing salaryWhen you hear the words “medical coding and billing salary”, do you imagine a 7 digit income with paid vacations and free health insurance? Or do you imagine some lonely, broke person doing routine clerical jobs at the back office of a hospital?

Well, to be completely honest and realistic, medical billing  salary depends on many things. This profession could either advance you to brighter opportunities or wear you down with its pressures.

Medical billers and coders have one of the most important jobs in the health care industry and are essential to the success of the business side of a health care facility, be it a hospital, research laboratory, private practice, etc.

What are the tasks of medical coders and billers?

Medical billers and coders work very closely together. Although in some firms, a medical biller and coder could be rolled into one, but their tasks are also distinct from each other.

Medical billers are the ones who review the records of patients, calculate the things charged to them by the hospital, submit insurance claims as well as assist patients in any questions and problems regarding their insurance. Medical billers know the workings of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Medicare and Medicaid.

On the other hand, medical coders abstract the information provided in a patient’s health record, then assign published codes and create claims to be paid by the patient’s insurance provider. A medical coder must be knowledgeable in CPT codes, ICD-9 codes and HCPCS codes to give the needed information to process an insurance claim.

What to Expect: Medical Coding and Billing salary

Medical coding and billing salary, according to a survey conducted by the AAPC (American Academy of Professional Coders) in 2011, differ or vary based on the job description and the location.

For example, a Certified Professional Coder (CPC) can earn more or less $14.55 per hour while a Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) can earn about $17 per hour. Medical billing and coding salary usually depends on the skills and specialization of an individual. For example, a Medicaid and Medicare Billing specialist can earn around $17 per hour while an Electronic Medical Records (EMR) specialist usually earns around $15. The more diverse a person’s skills and the more certifications he/she has, the higher salary he/she can have.

Meanwhile, the location of employment could affect the salary of an individual due to the standard of living and economy of a city or state – the higher the standard of living, the higher salary. Cities like New York, Boston and San Diego have the highest medical coding salary offers in the country.

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