The medical billing job market is by far one of the most exciting jobs markets nowadays. This market has shown constant growth over the last decade or if the trends continue, it will be amongst the fastest growing fields in recent history. While, yes there is a huge demand right now for medical billers and coders right now, there seems to be a huge misunderstanding regarding what both of these professionals actually do.
The good news is that neither of these careers requires a college degree, though this may change in the future. As of today the only requirement to work in either field is a certification via the AAPC or the AHIMA. Once certified, a billing clerk or coder can expect to earn a considerably higher salary than those who are not certified.
On to the actual differences between the two fields; while they may initially sound similar, their tasks are quite different. A medical coder is in charge of coding a patient’s diagnosis along with the requests for payments from the insurance company. A certified professional coder can expect to make on average $47,000 a year depending on several factors including previous experience and geographical location, which seems to be one of the most important factors for salary when it comes to medical coding jobs. Those who end up working in the Midwest and the Northeast will generally make an average of 6,000 dollars more than those who are located in the Southeast and Southwest.
On the other hand, a medical biller or medical billing clerk makes sure that the billing of the services provided is accurate and makes sure that it is handled correctly. Daily tasks include auditing and submitting claims, handling billing problems, make collection calls and calling insurance companies to discuss claims. A certified professional medical auditor or billing clerk can expect to make an average of $60,000 a year, which is considerably higher than the salary a medical coder, makes per year, bringing the overall average earning for billing clerks and coders to $55,000 a year. Location is once again, the most important driving factor when it comes to salaries; the regions with lowest salaries for medical billing clerks were the East South Central and the West North Central regions of the country, where reported earnings were on average 14% lower compared to those in the Northeast and Midwest regions.