Medical coders are responsible for transferring medical diagnoses, procedures and medications into nationally or internationally accepted codes for billing purposes.
The demand for professionals in this field has increased in recent years due to the preponderance of new waves of government administered health plans, confusing HMOs, all sorts of new fangled private insurance companies, an increasingly internet based economy, and most importantly…
… an increased demand on the healthcare system as a result of an aging demographic.
What Is The Typical Medical Billing And Coding Salary?
The typical medical billing and coding salary is fairly high because many health care providers are caught in the onslaught of a changing system and need somebody sharp and capable to crunch the numbers, connect the codes, and handle the software.
So the demand is there (this is validated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
And as you probably know if you have a even a smidgen of economics knowledge, high demand usually equates to high pay. So if medical coding is a career that interests you, or one that you’re already involved in, you can take heart because the prospects look good. Demand is showing no signs of slowing down, and medical coding salaries will probably be fairly hefty for some time to come. Let’s take a look at a few statistics.
According to Indeed.com, a website that provides statistical and other business information, the average medical coding salary is 44k a year.
Salary.com, another such site which focuses more exclusively on salary, puts yearly earnings for medical coding between 38k and 50k.
This is the general range.
If you are just starting out, your salary will most probably be somewhat lower, probably in the 35k range, but 44k is a very attainable figure. Indeed.com goes on to list a number of variations on the job title and averages for them. Here are a few:
Medical Insurance Billing Coder: 48k
Inpatient Medical Coder: 50k
Permanent Inpatient Coder: 74 k
Inpatient/outpatient medical coder: 72 k
Medical billing trainer/instructor: 42 k
As is the case with any other job, salaries vary according to area, supply and demand patterns, your level of experience and so on.
Factors That Influence Medical Billing And Coding Salary Levels
Here are some of the factors that can influence how much you can expect to earn a year in medical coding:
Experience/Newness to the field: As noted above, if you’re just starting out the experience factor comes into play. Being educated and up to date in coding is a great start, but experience is important in this fairly complicated field. But look on the bright side – the starting salary is still pretty good, and as your experience increases, it will climb fast.
Are you certified or uncertified?: Though there is no federal or state mandated certification exam for medical coding, certifications are often granted by educational institutions that give medical billing instruction. Completion of a certain school’s curriculum and a successful grade on a certification exam puts you in a good position employment wise. Though not actually required for work in medical coding, these educational credentials are favored by potential employers (or clients if you’re in business for yourself).
Size of health care establishment you are employed by: This is fairly obvious. If you work for a small family practice and code paperwork for 10 office visits a week, you can’t expect to be paid as much as if you’re working for a large hospital or clinic that sees hundreds of patients a week.
Geographical area: In areas where economy is thriving and there is high cost of living, salaries may be higher. This just boils down to demographics. Certain areas of the country are relative boom areas for certain industries, and others are comparatively depressed. If you’re curious about your own area, do a search on salary.com. The site allows you to search by town or zip code to find out what salary averages are in your neck of the woods.
Whether or not you run your own business: This will depend on your overhead, but once you have everything in place this shouldn’t be too high. It may be less than working in an office because you won’t have to drive to and from work. But then again you’ll have to pay for office materials, internet access and memberships and so on. So overall this is an assessment only you can make.
Though these factors all make a difference, you can rest assured that medical coding is a basically well paid and in demand field. Research potential medical coding salaries in the area in which you plan to do business and you will probably be pleasantly surprised. If you get yourself well credentialed and up to speed, you can make quite a decent living in this profession. So hopefully this post has served as a motivator – now get to work!
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