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How Much Medical Billing & Coding Specialists Make an Hour?

Do you want to know the hourly pay for a medical coder? If YES, here is a comparison on how much money you can make doing medical billing and coding jobs. If you are someone who prefers to work behind the scenes in an office or from home, then medical billing and coding may just be right for you. The prospects for medical billers and coders have continued to increase in a variety of settings such as hospitals, clinics and skilled nursing facilities.

Medical coders and billers do not have to interact with patients or offer them any direct care, however, they still play an important role in the healthcare industry. According to U.S. News and World Report, medical coding specialist jobs have below-average stress levels and above-average flexibility—an appealing combination for many workers.

Another advantage that is associated with this profession is that Medical coding and billing education programs often don’t take long to complete, and you can earn your education online if you wish. Plus, you may have the opportunity to work from home in the future or even start your own business.

You should bear in mind that even though medical billing and coding are closely related and similar in some ways, they are not entirely the same.

What is Medical Billing and Coding?

Medical coders translate the diagnosis and treatment a patient receives into numeric codes based on an official classification system. These codes are used by insurance providers to determine coverage and they must adhere to federal regulations.

Medical billers on the other hand take the assigned codes and submit claims to insurance providers. Medical billers follow up with both the patient and the insurance provider to ensure accurate billing and timely payments. In some offices, the duties of a medial biller and coder are separated and carried out by different individuals, however, in other places, one person has to carry out the two duties.

How Much Does Medical Billing and Coding Pay in Salary?

The salary that a medical biller or coder earns varies depending on an individual’s education, type of employer, place of residence, certifications, specific job function, and level of experience. The average salary for health information technicians—which includes medical billing and coding specialists— range from $24,810 to $64,610 , according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

However, another survey published by the industry organization, the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) points to higher average salaries. According to AAPC data, coding and medical billing salaries averaged $46,001 in 2017. Coding and billing managers earned higher pay rates, at an average of $64,623.

The medical billing and medical coding hourly rate was a median $18.83 per hour in 2017, according to the BLS. This data is mostly derived from employees who work in physician’s offices, nursing homes, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities.

Many people considering a career in medical coding or billing may be interested in starting a home-based business someday. However, if you work for yourself as a contractor charging an hourly rate, you will be responsible for your own self-employment taxes. You may also need to pay for your own benefits, such as health insurance, as well.

Being self-employed in this field offers you a lot more freedom and autonomy, however, in other to earn consistent income, you will also need to build your own client base, so it’s important to weigh the risks and benefits and have a business plan.

Medical Billing and Coding Salaries by State

Like it was stated earlier, the salary of a medical biller or coder can vary according to location. According to the AAPC, states range thus in their average rates for medical coding:

  • $41,250 in West Virginia
  • $47,297 in Indiana
  • $55,657 in Texas
  • $57,511 in Minnesota
  • $62,593 in California

How to Make More Money in Medical Billing and Coding

Here are a few factors that can help you to maximize your income as a medical biller or coder.

  • Education

Medical coding and billing salaries can vary on the basis of education. According to the AAPC, the average medical coding specialist with a bachelor’s degree earns $54,210 per year, while an average medical coder with no college education earns $49,066 per year.

  • Certifications

In order to boost your repertoire, having one or two certificates or coding credentials can go a long way. Medical coders who specialize as Certified Professional Medical Auditor, Certified Physician Practice Manager or have another certification, earn more than $60,000 per year.

  • Type of employer

All employers do not pay a uniform wage. Some pay more than others. According to the BLS, hospitals pay an average of $42,090 per year, while physician offices pay $34,250 per year. Seeking an employer that offers higher salary ranges can benefit your bottom line.

  • Years of experience

The more experience you in gain in this field, the more the income you receive will be. With an additional year of experience, medical coding salaries can increase between $500 and $3,500, according to AAPC data.

Job Growth and Future Prospects

The medical billing and coding career outlook holds great potentials. It is expected that employment will increase in this field at a strong rate of 13% through 2026, far outpacing the average for all occupations, which is just 7%. An aging population will drive the demand for medical billers and coders. Plus, because all types of healthcare providers use electronic health records, medical billers and coders are needed to organize and manage this huge stream of information and help ensure an efficient flow of revenue.

It’s important to note that not all entry-level healthcare jobs have the same positive outlook. For instance, employment of medical transcriptionists —who listen to voice recordings of physicians and type them into written reports—is projected to decline due to technologic advances with speech recognition software. In addition, healthcare providers may seek to cut costs by outsourcing these services to other countries.