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The Résumé Rx

What is Medical Coding and Billing and How Much Can I Earn?

Amanda Guarniere

Medical billing and coding professionals are in charge of appropriately documenting and billing patients’ medical data and treatments. They normally receive earnings comparable to other healthcare professionals, with the possibility of earning more with advanced education and certifications or by working in specialty areas.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual compensation for medical billing and coding is $46,660, or $22.43 per hour, although several factors influence how much you can earn.

In this guide, we’ll look at aspects of medical billing and medical coding salary factors, such as how much you can make in each state, the highest paying cities, and how medical coders’ and billers’ salaries vary based on where you work.

Table of Contents

What is Medical Coding?

Medical coding is a method of organizing and tracking the medical treatments and procedures provided to patients by doctors and other healthcare professionals. It involves the use of special codes to represent various diagnoses, treatments, and services. 

These codes are used to bill insurance companies as well as to maintain electronic medical records. Medical coders assign the appropriate codes to each piece of healthcare information using classification systems such as the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and Current Procedural Terminology (CPT). 

Medical coding is an important job because it ensures that healthcare providers are paid for their work and that a clear record of the care a patient has received exists.

What is Medical Billing?

Medical billing is the process of requesting payment from health insurance companies for medical services rendered to policyholders. It involves filing claims and following up on them to ensure that healthcare providers are compensated for the services they provide to patients.

When a patient receives medical treatment, the healthcare provider sends a bill to the insurance company that includes information about the services provided and the cost of those services.

Based on the patient’s insurance policy, the insurance company evaluates the bill and decides how much of the cost it will cover. If there is a balance after the insurance company has paid its portion, the patient must pay it. 

Medical billing is an essential component of the healthcare system because it ensures that healthcare providers are fairly compensated for their efforts.

What’s the Difference Between Medical Billing and Medical Coding?

Medical billing involves filing insurance claims and following up on unpaid or denied claims. The process of assigning numbers or alphanumeric codes to diagnoses, procedures, and treatments is known as medical coding. 

Medical billing and coding are both crucial tasks in the healthcare sector, but they are not the same. Medical billing focuses on the financial elements of healthcare, whereas medical coding focuses on record-keeping and data management.

Medical billing and medical coding both contribute to ensuring that healthcare practitioners are compensated for the services they perform and that the correct information is collected and arranged.

Average Salary for Medical Billing and Coding Specialists

The typical income for medical billing and coding specialists varies depending on factors such as education, experience, and location. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for these professions in 2021 was $46,660, or $22.43 per hour.

Depending on their unique circumstances, some workers in this area may make more or less than this. Those who work in hospitals or doctor’s offices, for example, may be paid more, and those with particular certificates may also be paid more. 

Overall, the job forecast for medical billing and coding professionals is favorable, with employment in this industry likely to expand faster than the national average in the coming years.

Medical Billing and Coding Salaries by Position

Medical coding and billing expertise areas have an impact on compensation, as illustrated below. Compensation for these popular occupations begins at the low end for billing clerks and rises significantly at the management level.

Medical Billing Clerk $41,070
Billing Clerk I $40,050
Medical Billing Specialist $43,450
Billing Analyst I $48,870
Medical Records Coding Technicians $56,460
Billing Analyst II $59,170
Medical Billing Supervisor $63,640
Billing Analyst III $72,340
Medical Records Coding Manager $73,860
Billing Manager $101,170

Source. Salary.com

Medical Billing and Coding Salary by State

Each state in the United States has its own economy, cost of living, and average wage. One of the most important factors in deciding medical billing and coding salaries is location.

According to the AAPC, the average compensation of medical billers and coders in each state is shown in the chart below.

State Average Salary Average Hourly Rate Regional Details
Alabama $48,169 $23.16 Alabama Salary Information
Alaska $57,883 $27.83 Alaska Salary Information
Arizona $55,937 $26.89 Arizona Salary Information
Arkansas $50,430 $24.25 Arkansas Salary Information
Florida $55,823 $26.84 Florida Salary Information
Colorado $59,614 $28.66 Colorado Salary Information
Georgia $55,106 $26.49 Georgia Salary Information
Hawaii $66,902 $32.16 Hawaii Salary Information
Idaho $51,646 $24.83 Idaho Salary Information

Highest Paying Cities for Medical  Billers and Coders

In addition to state salaries, it is crucial to understand how salaries differ by city. The five metropolitan areas with the highest annual mean salaries for medical coding and billing, according to the U.S. The Bureau of Labor Statistics are listed below.

  1. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA – $66,980 per year, $32.20 per hour.
  2. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA – $66,900 per year, $32.16 per hour.
  3. Stockton-Lodi, CA – $65,990 per year, $31.72 per hour.
  4. Trenton, NJ – $64,930 per year, $31.22 per hour.
  5. Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA –  $62,730 per year, $30.16 per hour

Highest-Paying Workplaces for Medical Billing and Coding Specialists

Salaries for medical billing and coding vary depending on the workplace. According to the AAPC figures in the table below, larger businesses, such as health systems, may offer greater salaries. Hospitals and major physician practices also pay more.

Workplace Settings

Average Salary

Health system

$57,860

Hospital inpatient and outpatient $55,440
Large group practice (50+ physicians) $54,970
Hospital inpatient $53,610
Hospital outpatient

$50,540

Source: AAPC

How to Increase Your Salary as a Medical Coder or Biller

Gain Experience

Medical coders in advanced areas, such as management and supervision, generally enjoy longer careers and greater pay. The AACP offers a credential for certified medical practice managers, which can lead to higher-paying administrative roles. According to the BLS, medical and health services managers earn a median yearly salary of $101,340.

Increase Education Level

A college education, whether an associate degree or some college-level programs, will increase your annual pay. A bachelor’s or master’s degree will considerably boost your chances. According to the AAPC, health information professionals with master’s degrees or more earn more than 27% more than certified coders with no education.

Obtain Certification and Credentials

Obtaining advanced credentials is more crucial than obtaining a higher education. Professionals that pursue this degree of knowledge validation provide their employers with trust in their experience and proficiency. 

According to the AAPC, the average coder compensation increase from improved certifications is 3.1%. However, coding specialists who have achieved the Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC) accreditation are reportedly paid more than 11% more.

Switch Workplace Setting

According to the American Association of Professional Coders, large health systems pay their medical billing and coding professionals about 19% more than small-group or solo physician practices. 

However, most healthcare systems have three to ten hospitals and associated institutions. Medical billing and coding job candidates can research salaries on the AAPC’s career listings, which include major health systems.

FAQs About Medical Billing and Coding Specialist Salaries

How much does a medical biller and coder make per hour?

According to the BLS, medical billers and coders make $46,660 per year, or $22.43 per hour. 

What pays more: medical billing or coding?

Medical coders might make a little more than medical billers.

Do medical billers work from home?

Medical coders may work from home, in doctors’ offices, or in hospitals.

How long does it take to become a medical biller or coder?

Depending on the sort of certification or degree you pursue, the time it takes to become a medical biller or coder can vary. Certification programs typically last six to twelve months and may involve a combination of online and in-person training.

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