Medical billing is an auxiliary healthcare profession that is closely associated with medical coding, but it is a different occupation. It is the role of the medical biller to send out bills to patients, insurance companies, and government providers. The biller also follows up on billing questions and concerns and ensures that the money is paid when it is due. Billers have the chance to set up payment plans if necessary to extend the timeline.
Why Become A Medical Biller
If you always wanted to work in a medical environment but do not want to invest in medical school or have no desire to administer medicine, medical billing may be a rewarding occupation. As a medical biller you are in a customer service role and have an opportunity to assist patients with paying their medical bills by giving them more time when needed and helping them to understand the charges. You can make a genuine difference in this position.
Medical billers may work in medical environments like hospitals, clinics or outpatient facilities, or they might work directly at insurance companies or government offices. In some situations, medical billers are self-employed contractors. Medical billers may sometimes work from home as well.
Medical Biller Salary
Medical billers are grouped under “health information technicians” by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which states that the average annual wage for all occupations within this field is $33,840. The top 10% make $53,430 or more and the lowest 10% earn under $21,240. The American Association of Professional Coders (AAPC), which also works with medical billers, estimates a higher annual wage based on their survey, $47,870. This is a survey of coders and not billers, but the salary for billers who are certified may be similar.
Medical Biller Career Outlook
The BLS states that the field of health information is growing at a rate of 21%, which is much faster than the national average for all other occupations. That means that tens of thousands of new positions for medical billers and other similar occupations should open up by 2020.
Medical Biller Degree
Many job candidates jump straight into medical billing without a degree or certification, but this would not be advisable. You could find a medical billing job without a degree, though in this economy, even in a field which has a lot of openings, you are far more competitive if you have one. Besides that, you will earn a lot more money if you are certified, and even more money if you have an associate’s degree or higher.
The AAPC’s studies show that the higher the level of your degree, the more money you can expect to make as a medical biller. Some medical billers start out with higher level degrees while others will pursue their associate’s degree and work up to a higher level later after they get started professionally. Without a degree, medical billing is unlikely to pay you a comfortable living wage, but with a degree, medical billing often pays enough to support a family.