Average Medical Billing Salary Expectations

As much as all of us would like to have the career that we love doing and that brings us endless job satisfaction, you need to look at how much you will be getting paid to do your job. It does not help your situation much if you love your work, but you cannot put food on the table at the end of the month. If you are passionate about figures and being organized and everything to do with numbers, then you may just have your wish to do what you love and get paid for it. Success begins with being passionate about what you are doing.

How Much Can Medical Billers Earn

Location, education, your type of employer and many other factors influences the salary that you will be earning. As with any other occupation there are averages applicable to each type of occupation and when you are looking around for another job or if you are looking at entering a specific job market, you can use these averages as a guideline to how much you can expect or should settle for when applying.

Remuneration according to Institute Salary Per Annum
General Hospitals $32,600
Nursing $30,660
Federal Branch $42,760
Physician offices/clinics $26,210
Outpatient centers $29,160

Remuneration according to Position Salary Per Annum
Medical Coder $39,000
Senior Medical Coder $46,000
Facility Coding Supervisor $77,000
Outpatient Provider Coder $42,000
Medical Records Field Technician $44,000

Earning According To Your Position

There are many occupations within the field of Billing and coding. Knowing that you can work your way up to the level of management when you start in a career will automatically make you want to work so much harder and learn faster and make fewer mistakes so that you can earn more as management where you will earn the best salary you possibly can in this field of work.

Hospital Outpatient Coder

The medical coding salary for someone working in the hospital outpatient wing is around $30 000. The position you hold in this area and the amount of years you have been working in the outpatient sector will also determine how much you will be earning and the longer you have been specializing in outpatient coding, the more you will likely be able to earn.

Being able to keep track of the medical billing codes that are used in this wing will give you the edge because you are more specialized in a certain area. Someone drifting between different sectors in a hospital may not earn as much as someone who specializes in a certain type of coding.

Specializing in an area such as OB/GYN could earn you about $110 000 per year and a hospital outpatient coder in the Navy can earn on average about $50 000. Should you only be working part time as a coder you can expect to earn less than the average for which a full-time coder will be paid.

Your medical coding salary will be influenced by all of the same factors as the other occupations as a coder and the higher your level of education and depending on the type of coding that you are specializing in, the higher your income will be.

Hospital Inpatient Coder

When a patient is booked into hospital, his file and his records will be sent to the hospital inpatient coders to code, verify and quality check so that the patient can claim their hospital expenses back from their health insurance. With the high running costs of hospitals it is important for the coding clerks to do their jobs properly and to allocate the correct codes to the procedures for which the patients are booked in so that they money is claimed back and the hospital does not have to be concerned with unpaid bills. For this reason, the hospital inpatient coder can expect to earn on average $64 000 which is substantially more than the coder who specializes in the hospital outpatient coding.

There will be exceptions to the averages and depending on where you work, you may expect to earn more or less than the average. If you have been working as an inpatient coder for many years, you will also be able to earn more than someone who has just graduated and if you should wish to transfer to another hospital, your chances will be so much greater as well because you are specializing in the field and you have the experience to secure the position or a higher position than you currently have with a higher salary.

Hospital Coding Manager

The hospital coding manager will be the highest paid coder in the hospital setup, but to become a manager you will have to have extensive knowledge of all of the procedures and the software that is used in the coding process as well as being familiar with the coding database. You need to have management skills as you will be responsible for the quality output of your team. Because of all of these responsibilities that fall on your shoulders you can expect to earn around $69 027 per year.

Once you become a hospital coding manager, you can start building up the experience and the reputation to earn more every time you are reviewed and to demand a higher salary if you are considering a transfer to another hospital.

Because the salaries of coders are so flexible, it can be easy to become caught up in the race for a higher salary. You will need to make sure that the work load that you will be expected to do at the new hospital will be justified by the salary you will be paid.

Because the manager oversees the rest of the team of coders there is no option to do this job from home or to do it part time. You can only be a full time manager, although you can be one of a team of management who work shifts so that there is always someone on duty when the other cannot make it to work.

Professional Fee Coder

A professional fee coder can expect to earn around $46 800 per year. This job entails quite a bit of knowledge about the medical profession as a whole because they assist in putting in place all of the systems and procedures which the rest of the coders use in their daily work. These professionals will provide information and assistance as well as guidance which are relevant to coding and they ensure that all of these protocols are in line with government legislation.

The professional fee coders are not the highest paid coders in the industry but they form an essential part in the coding world because they make sure that what the other coders do is up to standard and in line with the changes in the medical world.

Factors Which Influence the Medical Billing and Coding Salary

The average medical billing and coding salary average about $36 000 per annum but there are certain factors which influence on which side of this average your salary will fall:

  • Location of Work
  • Level of education
  • Experience in the field
  • Tasks and responsibilities

Location of Work

It is clear from the table above that where you are working makes a large difference in the average salary that you could earn. Working in a small practice could earn you a lower salary that working in a government department. The State you work and live in can also determine your salary greatly in the medical billing and coding sector. Taking the salary in consideration would also mean that you would have to take in consideration the cost of living and the availability of accommodation and job vacancies. Setting your heart on a position in a certain state may just be setting up yourself for disappointment if you cannot afford the cost of living despite your higher salary.

Working for yourself could earn you a larger salary because you will not be limited to the work coming from one institution and you can, at the end of the day, determine your own salary depending on the amount of work you are willing to take on and that you are able to complete within a certain time frame.

When looking at and occupation at a federal branch you may be earning a lot more than someone working in a small physician’s office, but the work load and responsibility of this person may just be so much more than at a physician’s office. A small physician office has fewer patients to take care of and bill and many of these physicians are contracted by certain set health insurances who are billed instead of the patients and the process of claiming from these health insurances becomes simple when you deal with the same process time and again. At a federal branch you may have to keep track of the many health insurances and government subsidies as well as who is paying with cash and has not paid their accounts yet. For this reason the salary may be more at a Federal branch than at a small doctor’s office.

Education Levels of Candidate

As with many other occupations you will earn more if you have a higher qualification. You could also earn more if you choose to specialize in a certain field. You could for example specialize in billing for nursing homes. This could ensure that you will always have a job at a nursing home and that you know all of the terms and all of the processes involved in this field.

Going to a medical billing school to get a diploma to do medical billing and coding will also give you an edge over those who have joined the field straight out of school. There are many things to consider when choosing a school. Will you be able to work and study at the same time and will you be able to specialize in a field or is it only a general course. The more credits you can earn in the course you choose to do, the more you are likely to get paid because of your level of education.

Experience in the Field

It costs a company far more money and time to train up a person fresh out of college to do the work and to gain the practical experience, than paying someone a slightly higher salary who already knows all of the practicalities of the job and who knows what to do. A new recruit may have to be supervised in the first year or so until they are completely versed in the ins and outs of the business and what to do and what to expect.

Doing the work is not the only experience one has to gain when doing medical billing and coding. Damage control is also a large part of it and making sure that if something goes wrong, it is resolved before it snowballs into something much larger. Sending someone the wrong bill or submitting the incorrect forms to a health insurance can have major legal considerations for all involved and the problems caused by such an omission should be sorted out before the repercussions are felt by any of the parties involved.

Being organized under normal circumstances is something that certain individuals are born with, but remaining organized and following exact protocol without getting confused when under pressure is a skill that is learned over time. Someone who has gained this experience already will be a far greater asset to a medical practice than someone who still has to learn the art of avoiding mistakes when under pressure and keeping a cool head when there is so much going on at the same time.

Tasks and Responsibilities

A junior candidate for medical billing and coding will earn less under any circumstance than their senior counterparts. A junior billing and coding clerk will also have less responsibilities and tasks to complete than a senior clerk. The senior clerk has to take responsibility of the work flow of their team and is responsible for checking up on the work of the junior or juniors and to quality check everything over and above the tasks they themselves have to perform. For this reason, a senior clerk will earn a higher salary than a junior.

A clerk working in a hospital will also have more responsibilities than someone working in a private practice because there will be more patients coming through the doors of the hospital than the private practice and there will be a greater variety of codes that will be used in a hospital than in a private practice. The more different billing codes you work with, the greater the risk becomes of making a mistake. There is so much to keep track of and the greater your responsibility becomes, the higher you will be paid for performing these tasks.

Once you gain more experience, you will start earning more and your workload and responsibilities will also increase accordingly. Billing patients, health insurance companies and federal institutions will just be a part of the responsibilities that you are being paid to perform. Once the bills went out, you will have to also follow up to make sure these bills are being paid and once they have, you will need to send out proof of receipt to the payees.

Decide What Field You Want to Work In

In many other medical fields you can specify in which type of medicine you want to specialize and it is the same for medical billing and coding. Both of these careers can be very challenging and can bring so much job satisfaction if you are the right candidate for the job.

Similarly you can choose to specialize in the following areas:

  • Outpatient
  • Inpatient
  • Emergency room
  • Oncology
  • Radiology
  • General Practitioner’s office
  • Federal Branches

When you choose to specialize in one of these programs, your salary will be higher than someone doing general coding or billing.

You should also decide whether you want to do coding, billing or billing and coding. Many going into this field choose to do both because it improves their chances of finding employment. When you specialize in a certain field, you may be paid higher, but you may be able to be employed faster and for longer when you do both billing and coding. Both of these careers are so similar and so closely related that it is easy to do both at the same time and it will save your potential employer on paying the salary for a billing clerk and a coding clerk when they can employ one person to do both.

Another advantage for your employer when you can do both, which is mostly the case, is that if they have more than one clerk that can do both billing and coding it does not become such a big problem if one is absent from work due to any reason.

Working from Home

Medical billing from home can bring in a much larger salary because you may not be working for just one institution. There are different ways of going about working from home. One of these ways is to have an office set up at your home and then working for one institution or practice. This way you are saving the practice funds by not contributing to their overhead costs and they do not need to make a space for you at their offices and they will have more funds available to pay you a better salary by compensating you for using your own facilities.

You could also be an independent contract worker and do the billing for many different practices and institutions, although this will require you to have many years of experience behind you to be able to do so many varied tasks at one time. You will also need to have the best and most user-friendly computer software that will help you to keep track of what is going on with which practice and which practice still has outstanding bills. You will also have to send correspondence regularly to each practice about where their accounts are standing which may cost you extra on your own running costs.

The Future of the Salary for Medical Billing and Coding

Although the clerks who do specialized medical billing and coding are already considered being well paid, the job outlook for these individuals appears to be on the positive side. In the next few years the salaries for this occupation is expected to rise sharply due to the gap in the market. This puts individuals who are already in this field and who have gained the experience in this type of work will benefit greatly from their pay rises and those entering this market for the first time will find the job market very attractive with many institutions being in competition to secure the most skilled clerk to satisfy the increasing demand for medical health workers and all of the other services that go with this industry.