Medical billers and medical coders perform similar functions, although their job description is not one in the same. That means that medical billers and coders do not always make the same in terms of salaries. Their annual pay rates can be similar, although there are many different factors to consider when healthcare facilities decide on those rates. Ultimately, it falls on the employer or health care facility, although there are several trends and consistencies.
Both medical billers and medical coders are classified as health information technicians, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That organization releases annual salary rates for health information technicians, and the 2016 average salary checks in at $41,460 annually. However, that does not pinpoint what medical billers and coders earn throughout the country.
How Much Do Medical Coders Make?
The AAPC (American Academy of Professional Coders) conducts an annual salary survey to determine what medical coders earn per year. In 2016, the average annual salary of a medical coder (certified and non-certified), who is a member of the AAPC, was reported at $49,872. That salary is higher for medical coders with at least one certification as they average an annual pay rate of $52,588. Medical coders without a certification earn an average of $39,956 annually.
The AAPC survey also showed that medical coders in the Pacific part of the United States (Alaska, Hawaii, California, Washington) lead the way in terms of highest average salaries at $56, 704. Coming in second were medical coders in the Mid Atlantic (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania) as they average $54,007 per year. Medical coders in the New England states earn an average of $53,312 per year while the Mountain region sees its medical coders average $51,308 annually. The lowest paying region is the East South Central (Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee), where medical coders average $47,403 annually.
Medical Coding Salary
According to the AAPC, medical coders without any college education earn an average of $22.23 per hour. That pay rate bumps up to $25.16 per hour for medical coders with a college education. Specialized certifications increase that pay rate even higher, as medical coders with those distinctions can earn more than $30 per hour.
Medical coders work in a variety of settings, although the best paying jobs, on average, exist in health care systems. The 2016 average annual salary for medical coders working in a health care system was reported at $52,320. Large group practices also feature high pay rates as the 2016 average in that setting checked in at $49,452. Hospitals are also a popular place of employment for medical coders and the average salary in that setting was $47,421 in 2016.
A lot goes into determining the salary of a medical coder. The hiring facility determines the pay rate, but that is often influenced by location as some regions offer higher pay rates. Experience is also a factor, although those with higher certification levels can demand a higher salary than those who have more years of actual work experience. The type of facility also contributes to the salary, but the most telling trend has been higher pay for those who have higher level certifications.
How Much Do Medical Billers Make?
The annual salary of a medical biller is first determined by location as there are some parts of the country that offer higher pay rates. New Jersey is the highest paying state as health information technicians earn an average salary of $60,000 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Medical billers are classified in the Health Information Technician grouping. Those statistics also show that Alaska ($56,920) is the second-highest paying state, followed by California ($48,840), Maryland ($48,730) and Colorado ($48,730). Many metropolitan areas also feature higher pay rates for medical billers.
Another important factor that determines annual salaries for medical billers is the type of health care facility. General medical and surgical hospitals employ the highest concentration of medical billers and that is followed physicians’ offices. Those two work environments account for the vast majority of medical billing jobs within the United States. Pay rates also differ according to the resources, reputation and other internal dynamics of the hiring facility.
Medical Billing Salary
Medical Billers sometimes take on multiple responsibilities, which requires them to perform both billing and coding duties. However, medical billers, on their own, earn an average salary that is usually less than that of a medical coder. The difference is in the details as medical coding requires a specialized knowledge. That does not mean medical billers can’t earn a comfortable living.
Unlike the AAPC, there is no national organization for medical billers. That also means there is not as much specific research that estimates how much medical billers earn per year. However, there are some sources that have come up with their own figures. According to Salary.com, medical billers earn an average salary that ranges between $32,943 and $40,015 per year. Reports from Payscale.com indicate the average salaries fall between $25,000 and $44,000 annually for medical billers. That leaves a lot of room for interpretation, although there are variables that can determine what medical billers can expect to earn on a yearly basis.
Medical Biller and Coder Salary Increases
The average annual salary of both medical billers and medical coders have been steadily rising. Part of that increase is due to the need for more overall health information technicians. There have been significant annual increases in the percentage of new medical billing and coding jobs and that trend dates back to 2014. Those numbers are expected to rise and, with that upgrade in demand, salaries are also being raised.
Population increases alone are heightening the number of professionals needed in the medical billing and coding industry. The increasing number of senior citizens is another contributing factor and the widespread access to healthcare also means that more medical billers and coders are required to keep pace with such a large scale demand.
The job outlook remains extremely favorable for medical billers and coders as this profession is expected to provide competitive pay and job stability for years to come. New medical billers and coders can look forward to a career that is filled with longevity and constant demand.