June 28, 2012 by Staff Writers

Demand for Medical Billers and Coders?

Question: Is there a large demand for medical biller and coders?

Dear Reader,

Yes, there is high demand for medical billers and coders in today’s job market, but first let me speak concerning the profession, as many are under the impression that these two careers are one and the same. Medical billing is one profession and coding is another separate profession. Neither require a degree, but coding does require professional certification via the AAPC or a certification and/or degree via the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). The AAPC now offers professional certification in medical billing, a separate course from medical coding, on its website.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released their 2013 Occupational Outlook Handbook and the field of medical records and health information technicians (which includes medical billers and coders) is expected to increase by 21% between 2010 and 2020. The BLS has pointed to this industry as having a faster growth rate on average than all other occupations, with an expected increase of approximately 37,700 employed in this exciting field by 2020.

As an added source for job outlooks in this industry, the AAPC publishes its annual Salary Survey in Coding Edge Magazine every fall. The survey provides an inside view of what’s trending in the industry for the past year and looks toward growth in the years to come. The 2012 AAPC Health Care Salary Survey was open for feedback over the summer of 2012, and data was collected based on submitted information from responders.

The 2012 average salary of a certified Coding professional was $48,033. However, the following breakdown, from the AAPC’s 2012 publication is via type of coding credential:

  • Certified Professional Coder (CPC) – $47,796 (increased by almost $900 in one year)
  • Certified Professional Coder – Hospital Outpatient (CPC-H)$56,466 (increased by almost $1,800 in one year)
  • Certified Professional Coder – Payer (CPC-P)– $55,255 (increased by almost $3,800 from last year)
  • Certified Professional Medical Auditor (CPMA)– $59,365 (increased by almost $3,200 over last year)
  • Overall average earnings of all specialty credentials was $54,145

One of the driving factors for salary is geographic region in the U.S. Of note, those who work in the Mid-Atlantic, New England, and Pacific regions have higher salaries ranging from an average of about $52,400 to about $55,000. The regions that had a lowest salary range were the East South Central, West South Central, and West North Central regions of the country, which ranged from an average of about $41,500 to about $44,500. Overall, salaries are on an upward trend for 2012, based on the AAPC’s recent report. That is good news for the industry!

The AAPC started this focus in 2008, when membership was at about 60,000, and as of 2012, it stands at about 120,000 members. The AAPC doubled its membership in just four short years, which is a significant leap in growth. This is also a good indication of growth in the field.

Of note, many in the industry hold jobs that involve high-level decision making as an overall positive trend since 2008, which signifies that certified professionals hold credence amongst those in the health care industry and are recognized more for the higher level of knowledge and expertise that they bring to the table and are considered highly trained professionals.

Final Thoughts

With the increase in the nation’s aging population, along with the implementation of ICD-10 in 2014, there is and will continue to be an added demand for medical billing and coding professionals to assist the provider community with the increase in patient encounters and medical chart reviews that will require the services of these highly trained professionals.

To access an Excel file from BLS on Employment by Industry from 2010 through 2020, please click here.

To access the 2013 edition of the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook for Medical Records and Health Information Technicians, please click here.

To access the AAPC’s information on medical billing certification, please click here.

Happy Coding!

Holly

Follow me on Twitter: @hollycassano

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