Medical billing and coding can be a demanding career. To succeed, you must be precise, you must be able to meet deadlines, and you must have enough medical knowledge to accurately identify a wide array of conditions, procedures and outcomes. Becoming a medical insurance biller and coder requires special training and you must regularly update your knowledge for as long as you practice your profession. Your performance can not only determine if a patient receives the proper course of treatment, but it can also expedite or delay payments that can total in the tens of thousands of dollars.
It’s a lot to think about.
But as demanding as medical billing and coding is, there are many compelling reasons to pursue it as your career. Here are 10 of them:
1. There’s a demand for trained professionals. Health care is one of America’s healthiest industries (no pun intended), accounting for 17.9 percent of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP)…and growing. As for medical billing and coding professionals in particular, the U.S. Department of Labor expects jobs openings to increase 21 percent between 2010 and 2020, a rate it describes as “faster than average.”
2. The field is secure. With America’s population aging, the demand for medical services and support personnel is only going to increase. Even if the U.S. went to a Canadian-style single-payer health care system, there would still be a need for specialists to handle the biggest thing the private and public sectors have in common: paperwork.
3. You can train quickly. Yes, you need specialized training, but if you have a high school diploma or its equivalent, you can usually earn your medical billing and coding diploma in one year or less.
4. It’s a health care position with no patient contact. An a medical billing and coding specialist, you can enjoy all the benefits of working in the health care industry without having to expose yourself to germs, bodily fluids or the other “ick” factors often associated with actual patient contact.
5. You will work in a professional environment. You will likely work in a physician’s office, clinic, hospital or similar environment alongside highly educated professionals. Or you may work for an insurance company in an organized corporate atmosphere.
6. You may be able to work from home. Like medical transcription, medical billing and coding is a specialty that can also be performed from the convenience and comfort of your own home. A medical billing career is a great career for young parents or others who’d prefer to avoid the hassle and expense associated with daily commuting.
7. You may be able to work part-time. Many medical billing and coding specialists work only half days, or on evenings and weekends. Again, if you’re looking for flexibility, medical billing and coding can be a great choice.
8. Pay is competitive. Compensation will naturally depend on where you live, local market conditions, whether you work full- or part-time, and your level of experience. Nationally, the average starting rate is about $10.70 per hour, but it can be as high as $12.12 per hour in states like California and New York.
9. There’s room for growth. With time and experience, your income can more than double. Nationally, top-tier medical billing and coding specialists average more than $56,000 per year, and more than $58,000 in higher-wage states.
10. Your skill set is transportable. Are you a displaced worker or changing careers? The skills you acquire in medical insurance biller and coder can allow you to transition smoothly to other industries that rely on detailed documentation, such as insurance, banking and home lending.
If these benefits sound good to you, then medical billing and coding is a field you should explore further. With the right training, you could be out of school and ready to go to work by this time next year. So what are you waiting for?