The healthcare industry is on the rise as a whole, and with it comes many niches also experiencing growth. One such niche is medical billing and coding. The unfortunate truth is that we’ll always need a healthcare system, because illness is as much a part of being human as breathing. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us some serious problems with our current system, and we can only hope that unprecedented growth also means positive changes.
Medical billing and coding is an administrative position that is free from clinical duty, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less important to the healthcare process. In fact, it’s so crucial that it can literally mean the difference between a patient being able to afford their medical care or footing the entire bill.
Let’s look closer at this interesting medical career, the job growth and outlook, and other information on medical billing and coding.
You’re probably wondering what exactly a medical biller/coder does. No worries, we’re here to help make everything understandable! A medical coder is someone who takes medical paperwork and essentially translates it into standardized code. This code is used to create invoices for medical care, which are then sent to insurance companies for payment. So, in essence, a medical biller/coder is the person who makes sure your care is paid for.
The biller is simply the person who bills the insurance company once the codes have been generated, but more often than not, billing and coding are lumped together as the same job. If you’re already creating the codes, it only makes sense that you would create and send the invoices, too.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical billers and coders fall under the “medical records and health information” category, which covers a wide range of jobs associated with the management, organization, and care of medical records and health information. As a medical biller and coder, you’ll be responsible for medical bills, which is an important piece of medical information. You’ll need to keep things safe and private, use the correct codes, and formulate accurate and punctual invoices to be paid.
There are around 341,000 jobs in the US currently that fall under this category, and the niche itself is expected to grow by about 8% through 2029; much faster than average.
The next question on your mind is likely where to get the training to become a medical biller and coder. Luckily, we’ve got just the answer! Medical billing and coding doesn’t require a degree, though some people still opt to seek an associate’s degree instead of a diploma/certification. Medical billing and coding courses online are among the fastest routes to becoming a certified biller/coder. You can get certified in about 11-12 months, and earn an associate’s degree in anywhere between 18-24 months.
Once you pass your courses, you’ll sign up to take your exam on the AAPC website. From there, you can earn several different certifications, so you’re not limited to one medical billing specialty. The more specialized certifications you have, the greater your opportunities for employment and a higher salary will be.
As stated before, the growth projection for the medical records and health information niche is around 8% through 2029. Average growth is somewhere between 3-4%, so this niche is growing at a decent rate.
So, is seeking out a medical billing and coding certification worth it? This will largely depend on personal preference, of course, but this niche has a lot to offer. First of all, you’ll be a crucial component of the healthcare process, ensuring that people’s medical bills are sent and paid accordingly. Most patients don’t have thousands of dollars put away for medical expenses, so ensuring their insurance is billed properly is nothing less than a necessity.
With an average salary of about $42,000 per year, depending on your area and any specialty certifications you have, you can make a decent living. The job market is expected to continue to grow for the next decade, so you should have plenty of opportunities when you graduate. The bottom line? It’s worth it if you’re looking for a fast-track into the medical field that pays well, offers opportunities for growth, and is incredibly rewarding.
Medical billing and coding doesn’t involve direct clinical care, so it’s a perfect job for someone who’s more interested in the administrative side of healthcare. The industry will continue to grow through the next decade, so don’t wait! Get started today with an online fast-track course and get into the field and your next career in under a year’s time.