What is medical billing and coding?
The world of medical billing is complicated, particularly in the U.S., which is
why physicians hire medical billing and coding specialists. These bright
individuals are responsible for managing patient insurance claims, invoicing,
and collecting payment for medical services.
A large portion of the medical billing and coding job description involves
acting as a critical liaison between physicians’ offices, patients, and
insurance companies. If there’s a problem with an invoice, they’re the
individuals who sort it out, but they also do a fair amount of technical work.
Most people would describe medical billing and coding specialists as hybrids
between office assistants and customer service representatives.
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How is this role monitored?
Medical billing and coding specialists fall under the umbrella of medical
secretaries and administrative assistants. Therefore, it’s often an entry level
position. Most medical billing specialists work full time in hospitals,
physicians’ offices, care homes, and other medical facilities, though some may
work remotely or part time.
In a small practice, a medical coder may report to the practice’s partners. In
larger facilities or hospitals, a medical coder may report to a medical billing
manager or a medical coding supervisor. In both cases, the individual will
likely work with a medical coding auditor whose job it is to identify errors and
ensure proper legal compliance. All medical billers and coders deal with
confidential information and are subject to HIPAA.
Medical billing and coding salary
Medical billing and coding pay starts small, but there’s a chance to make a
decent living for the minimal amount of education required. The median medical
billing and coding salary is $36,580 per year, which is lower than the U.S.
median annual salary of $51,168. Still, the
top 10% of individuals in this field earn more than $53,230 per year.
As with most jobs in the medical field, the work environment affects the pay.
The average salary for medical billing and coding specialists is higher for
those who work in dental offices and hospitals, and lower for those who work
with miscellaneous health practitioners and physicians. You may also earn more
if you have a bachelor’s or master’s degree, though it’s not a requirement.
Medical billing and coding duties & responsibilities
What is medical billing and coding? This important role has a number of
responsibilities that require a keen eye for detail, customer service skills,
and unique technical knowledge. Day-to-day responsibilities include:
- Acting as a liaison between insurers, medical offices, and patients
- Properly coding medical services, diagnosis, treatments, and more
- Invoicing patients and insurance companies for claims or payments
- Tracking and collecting payments, including setting up payment plans for outstanding bills
- Correcting rejected insurance claims and coding errors
- Handling confidential information and abiding by HIPAA laws and other medical policies