A Glance at the 2019 
Non-Clinical Healthcare Industry

When the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides a job outlook for various professions, it also includes the projected growth rate through 2026 for those jobs. The good news for those considering non-clinical healthcare jobs is that job growth is often predicted to be "faster than average," according to BLS.

That's because an aging population and an increasingly complex healthcare system means that non-clinical healthcare workers are a critical cog in the healthcare structure, ensuring that patients receive scheduled treatment, are billed accurately and properly reimbursed by their health insurance provider.

"As the large baby-boom population ages and people remain active later in life, there should be increased demand for healthcare services," BLS says.

Writing in "The Atlantic," Derek Thompson says that since the U.S. spends hundreds of billions of dollars annually on Medicare, Medicaid and healthcare benefits for government employees and veterans; it makes "healthcare employment practically invincible, even during the worst downturns."

Rising Roles

The non-clinical healthcare industry offers many different career paths, depending on what type of work you most enjoy. Here are some great opportunity areas and a snapshot of what type of work you'll be doing:

  • Medical Customer Service Representative

    The average salary for a medical customer service employee is about $30,688 a year, according to Glassdoor. These workers primarily focus on supporting patients and their families, such as helping with the registration process, providing service and facility information and obtaining information such as medical histories. These jobs require a high school diploma and employers look for those who are organized and have great communication skills. According to BLS, customer service representative jobs are expected to grow 5 percent annually.

  • Medical Biller

    Being a medical biller involves patient invoicing, resolving claims and dealing with private and public insurers. It is expected to grow 13 percent a year, which the BLS says is faster than average. Such jobs average about $40,350 per year and usually require a postsecondary non-degree award. While such jobs are often in offices, some may work from home.

  • Medical Collections Representative

    Medical collections representatives earn an average of $33,446 annually, according to Glassdoor. Medical collections representatives often have job duties that focus on collecting bills due for medical services that have been received, including hospitalizations, surgeries or routine checkups. They can either work on site or from their homes. These workers also work with patients to resolve payment issues, from creating an individually tailored payment plan to garnishing wages. Most of these jobs only require a high school diploma or the equivalent. For bill and account collectors, BLS says collector jobs are expected to drop only slightly, about 3 percent a year.

  • Patient Account Representative

    Patient account representatives process claims, collect payments and resolve questions and problems about a patient's account. The average annual pay for a patient account representative is $15.58 an hour, reports PayScale. They are responsible for contacting patients who are overdue on payments and work with insurance companies on claims. Most employers require a high school diploma and some experience with medical billing or collections. According to PayScale, workers report they are "highly satisfied" with these jobs.

  • Insurance Verification Specialist

    An insurance verification specialist is responsible for the pre-verification of insurance for patients being admitted to the hospital. They contact insurers to verify coverage and complete necessary patient paperwork to make sure the admitting process is efficient and all regulatory policies are being followed, reports Salary.com. The average annual salary is $38,899.

In-demand Skills

As mentioned earlier, an aging population and a greater focus on health means that there will be an ongoing demand for non-clinical healthcare employees that support services in hospitals, physician's offices and even rehabilitation centers. Non-clinical healthcare workers need to understand various technology and often pursue ongoing learning and training opportunities to keep up with the always-evolving healthcare field.

"Each year, new regulations are put in place to help solve problems and make working within the healthcare industry easier, as well as to make room for technological advancements and changing within healthcare laws," explains MB-Guide, which provides free career and education advice for medical billing and coding. "Sometimes these changes occur on a monthly basis. Other times, the changes occur on a quarterly or annual basis. This means it's extremely important to keep up-to-date."

Some of this training can be gained through conferences and other opportunities. MB-Guide, for example, lists several seminars to attend, such as those offered each month by the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services, other certifying organizations and insurance companies. Medical billers are required to have a certain number of continuing education units per year in order to maintain a certification.

Non-clinical Healthcare Career Heat Map

The entire healthcare sector is expected to make up a third of all new employment, writes Thompson of "The Atlantic." Some of the top metropolitan areas cited as having a high number of healthcare jobs include:

  • Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN-WI
  • Denver, CO
  • Albany, NY

Further, many cities are known for being great places to live and offering a lot of healthcare jobs:

  • Tucson, AZ
  • Lexington, KY
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Birmingham, AL
  • Detroit, MI
  • Austin, TX
  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Rochester, MN
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Durham, NC
  • Boston, MA
  • Nashville, TN

Legislation and Trends to Watch

One of the booming areas that is affecting the healthcare field is the adoption of telemedicine, a market that is expected to hit $118.13 billion by 2025. Rapid technological and network advancements in wireless communications, patient monitoring and real-time interactive services means that patients can be diagnosed and treated through telecommunications technology.

Such innovation will also affect non-clinical healthcare jobs because of more legislation addressing telemedicine. For example, Arizona legislators just passed a new telemedicine law that expands coverage of such care, a move that could serve as a model for other states.

Focus on the Future

As with many industries, there is "disruption" in the healthcare industry as consumers search for better, more affordable and more accessible care. That may mean serving patients remotely through telemedicine or helping them navigate more integrated healthcare providers that have arisen through mergers and acquisitions in the industry. It will also see an increasing use of technology to manage the flow of healthcare information and product innovations to allow consumers and their caregivers to have access to their claims and medical and personal data.

"As the ancient saying goes, 'change is the only constant' in life. And nowhere is that more on display than in the healthcare market," writes Susan DeVore of Health Affairs, a health policy thought and research publication.

For more information on the non-clinical healthcare industry, visit ajilon.com.