Pick up any newspaper want ads or go to job opportunity web sites, and there will be an abundant of companies looking for people to fill medical billing jobs. The health care industry is always at the top of the list for industries that can expect high job growth in the coming years. According to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2008, there are approximately 172,000 medical billing and medical coding jobs in the United States. The job market is expected to grow an annual rate of between seven and 13 percent, but jobs for medical billing and coding is expected to grow by 20 percent or more over the next 12 years. That means that the medical billing and coding jobs outlook is great, since approximately 207,000 medical billing and coding jobs will need to be filled.
Medical Billing and Coding Career Industry Growth
There are several reasons for the medical billing and medical coding job growth. The aging population requires more health care as they are living longer and managing what used to be life-threatening diseases. They require more health care tests and visits, as well as more medications and interventions. Medical providers bill insurance companies, including governmental health care companies such as Medicare and Medicaid, therefore need medical billers and medical coders.
Even younger populations are finding their health care status requires more medical intervention due to unhealthy lifestyles and habits. People are getting more medically aware and conscious with all the new medications that can treat everything from restless legs, sparse eyelashes, and elevated cholesterol levels.
Medical Billing Trends
A medical coder is actually not the same as a medical biller. Medical coders take a diagnosis or service and apply the appropriate ICD9 code, and medical billers turn the codes into money. The medical biller explains the insurance benefits to the customer or patient, reviews super bills, applies HCFA codes, reviews Explanation of Benefits (EOBs) and discusses with patient, and promptly bills insurance companies.
The healthcare industry is about to implement ICD10 codes as well as the next version of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Ace (HIPPA) electronic transaction standards, or 5010, which will add a whole new layer of billing transactions and requirements, along with the adoption of electronic medical records. These changes will require newly trained and experienced medical billers as medical practices try to keep up with and acquire knowledge of the new trends in cost reimbursement.
Physician’s medical coding and medical billing practices are the lifeblood of their practices. The introduction of a new set of medical codes, the ICD10, means there will be at least five times the number of codes for medical billers to access and review. Medical practices require speedy insurance company billing (the job of the medical biller) in order to maintain and grow their practices. Most people have some type of insurance, whether private, public or government and the prompt accuracy of the medical biller are crucial.
Medical Billing and Coding Job Outlook
The medical billing and coding careers are the fastest growing health care area of opportunity. Insurance companies, hospitals, laboratories, clinics, pharmacies and all other health care providers that handle any type of reimbursement billing are seeking to hire medical billers. They are finding that they have to spend more time and more money in researching claims and controlling claim fraud and abusive practices.
Due to the necessity of accurate and prompt billing, without having to spend time explaining procedure codes or calling insurance companies, along with the legal implications of incorrect billing, many medical providers are seeking educated, trained, and certified medical billers. Some medical practices even take out false claims insurance policies for the medical billers and coders.
Medical Billing and Coding Career Salary
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median wage for a medical biller is $32,350, or $15.55 per hour. The salaries will vary depending on the region of the country, but examples of the highest paying states are:
- New Jersey – $47,050 per year or $22.62 per hour
- Hawaii $42,430 per year or $20.40 per hour
- Massachusetts $40, 230 per year or $19.34 per hour
The need for medical billing has grown over the past years as medical practices have to deal with more insurance rules and complications. Medical billing and coding careers have grown tremendously, and will continue to do so with the changes in the medical delivery systems and insurance industry.
The American Health Information Management Association hopes that the medical billing and coding job outlook remains positive by increasing the educational and advancement opportunities for people in the field. Senior level positions will require educated, knowledgeable medical billers, and advancement in the field will mean the medical biller could pursue an associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
The over 500,000 doctor practices in the United States need medical billers to get paid.