Is a Medical Billing and Coding Salary Sufficient?
Medical coding salary has risen significantly during the past few years but is still one of the lowest-paying jobs in the medical coding and billing profession. Now hundreds of aspiring medical coders pose the same question: Is a medical coding and billing job satisfying?
Well, aren’t most of us asking the same question? Is there satisfaction in the jobs we do?
For those looking into a career in the field of professional medical coding, no matter what statistics show about medical billing and coding salary, here are some essential things you need to know.
In the simplest terms, a medical coder is the one responsible for making sure that medical claims are completed and has gone through the correct procedures in order for private practices and hospitals get reimbursements from insurance companies like Medicare and Medcaid.
Medical coding jobs require administrative tasks that demand a keen eye for detail, especially because it is a coder’s primary job to assign the correct appropriate coding on each claim. This can be done by checking the patient’s medical records to make sure what work was performed. Then, he or she (the coder) will assign codes (ICD-9, HCPCS and CPT) for the purpose of documentation, report and to give the medical biller the information needed for reimbursements from Medicaid or Medicare or other insurance companies.
So How Does One Become A Medical Coder?
If you’ve started out right in High school, becoming a medical coder might not be as hard for you. A great start would mean taking Biology, Algebra, Health and other related classes that could possibly increase your chances in becoming a medical coder. Following a High School diploma is a medical coding accreditation, which can only be achieved by taking a certification course.
The AAPC (American Academy of Professional Coders) offers a Certified Professional Coder or CPC certification exam at $260 – $300. If you pass the exam, your professional standing will be higher than non-certified coders. And you know what that means? A higher medical coder salary, yes!
But it that doesn’t mean you should stop there. If you earn a Bachelor’s degree, you can actually hold a senior/ managerial position in a medical office.
What is a Medical Coder Salary on Average?
Most Medical coders earn about $30,000 every year for a full time position – broken down, that’s about $15 per hour.
On the other hand, in a survey about medical billing and coding salary conducted by the AAPC in 2011, results indicated that the salary for the mentioned profession increased significantly over the past few years. The survey showed that an average Certified Professional Coder earns $45,800 annually, which is means it increased by $1,400 as compared to their 2010 salary survey.
About 80% of the respondents were Certified Professional Coders and even hold more than CPCs to their names, which means that they are better educated than most people.
Of course, looking at the medical coding and billing salary game, the rate also depends on their cost of living. For example, medical coders and billers in New York had higher annual salaries than those living in Iowa.
Much to the confusion of the general population, there is a difference between Medical coding, medical billing and medical transcription.
While medical billers and coders are mostly responsible for processing the payment for medical services and other things related to medical health insurance claims and reimbursements, Medical transcriptionists, on the other hand, are responsible for transcribing audio recordings of patients’ reports done by doctors.
Medical Coding Salary
Medical coders give ICD-9 codes to a patient’s diagnosis, which are recognized internationally. The ICD system, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), applies to many health management purposes, including the analysis and monitoring of the prevalence and incidence of diseases in relation to things such as characteristics and circumstance of the persons affected reimbursement, quality and guidelines.
Simply put, these ICD codes medical coders assign helps physicians and other medical health professionals understand a patient’s diagnosis accurately, no matter where you are in the world.
Medical Billing Salary
Medical billing uses transcribed medical information & ICD codes to bill hospitals, practices and other medical companies to provide important data to insurance companies. These data are essential in processing payment of medical services. This interaction between insurance companies and health care companies is called the “billing cycle” or Revenue Cycle Management. Medical billing is responsible for transmitting medical claims to insurance companies and maximizing insurance payments by correct processing of the medical claims.
Medical Transcription Salary
Medical transcriptionists are responsible for turning healthcare audio recordings into textual form by listening to these recordings and typing the dictations by physicians and other healthcare professionals. Each specific textual report or transcript then becomes an electronic medical record, which becomes a part of a patient’s medical history.
While it is not necessarily mandated to have a certification in order to become a Medical transcriptionist, most healthcare providers prefer those with training and experience. This is because not everyone is knowledgeable with medical terms and spelling, which must be accurate and necessary.
On average, medical transcriptionist salary is more or less $32,000 per year. However, several medical companies now hire medical transcriptionists off-shore (mostly India and the Philippines), since they charge cheaper and deliver quality work at the same time.
With all these information, the question remains: is a nedical billing and coding salary satisfactory? One cannot really outright say if it is the job for you. It’s something that you have to find out for yourself. But after reading all these information, hopefully you’re close to an answer.