Insurance Billing and Coding Specialist: Salary and Career Facts
Insurance billing and coding specialists manage and code patient records for insurance reimbursement purposes. Learn the typical duties of an insurance billing and coding specialist as well as education options and salary data. Schools offering Medical Billing & Coding degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Is an Insurance Billing and Coding Specialist?
An insurance billing and coding specialist provides each medical procedure with the necessary insurance code used to complete the billing process. Some employers may separate out billing and coding duties into two distinct positions. You may also have the title of administrative medical assistant, medical coding specialist, medical records coder, medical records technician or health information technician.
What Will I Do?
As an insurance billing and coding specialist, your main responsibility will be to correctly apply the proper insurance code for every procedure that a patient receives. This information is then supplied to the insurance company to begin the billing process. After the insurance company makes a payment, you'll adjust the patient's account. Then, you must typically contact the patient with regard to any balance left to be paid.
Some procedures may have several different codes based on why the procedure was completed and other circumstances. The wrong code could cause the patient's insurance company to not cover the procedure, which results in a billing problem. You would then need to communicate directly with the insurance company and patient to resolve the situation.
What Are the Education Requirements?
To become an insurance billing and coding specialist, the minimum requirement that some employers request is a high school diploma. However, an associate degree or a diploma in insurance billing and coding is usually required. Classes that you can expect to take during a program include medical terminology, coding, anatomy, pharmacology, health information management, customer service, computer science and health care operations.
You might also want to gain certification with the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) as a Certified Professional Coder (CPC). To gain a CPC credential, you'll need to provide proof of medical coding experience, pass an exam and complete continuing education (www.aapc.com). The AAPC further recommends that you earn your associate degree before applying. You can also receive certification in a variety of coding specialties, such as surgery, dermatology, pediatrics or cardiology.
What Salary Can I Expect to Earn?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) noted that the median annual salary for medical records and health information technicians was $32,350 as of May 2010 (www.bls.gov). The majority of these professionals earned between $21,240 and $53,430 a year.
As of December 2011, PayScale.com reported that most medical billing specialists with less than one year of experience earned $19,866-$40,268 as of December 2011. PayScale.com also listed the salary of most CPCs with less than one year of experience as $18,246-$40,746 during the same time.
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