Insurance Biller: Career and Salary Facts

Explore the career requirements for insurance billers. Get the facts about job duties, education requirements, job outlook and salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Insurance Billing & Coding Specialist degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Insurance Biller?

There are two types of jobs related to insurance billing. First, financial clerks who specialize in insurance billing compute the charges for services or goods and send them to insurance companies for payment reimbursement. They may communicate with both patients and insurance companies to make sure that the transaction runs smoothly. Alternatively, you could work as a health information technician. These professionals compile medical data, including insurance information, into databases for analysis and reimbursement purposes.

The table below outlines the general requirements for a career as an insurance biller.

Education Required Vocational certificate or associate's degree recommended
Education Field of Study Health information technology (for health information technicians)
Key Responsibilities Compile data for service or product cost reimbursement and submit claims to insurance companies or government agencies; use medical billing software to enter data into a computer and maintain patient records
Job Growth (2014-2024) 13% (insurance billers)*
15% (health information technicians)*
Average Salary (2015) $36,300 (insurance billers)*
$40,430 (health information technicians)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Kind of Work Do Insurance Billers Perform?

Insurance billers and other reimbursement clerks compile data for reimbursement of the cost of services or products and submit billing claims to insurance companies or government agencies, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (www.bls.gov). In health care billing, medical insurance payers may include private insurers as well as Medicare and other government payers.

Because of the many insurance requirements as well as ever-changing federal and state regulations, it's important that you keep your knowledge and skills updated. You must check the statements for accuracy and verify who is the correct payer as well as the amount of reimbursement expected. Sometimes you need to contact patients or other parties to verify insurance or other billing information.

Health information technicians, according to the BLS, are medical billers with special training in medical office and billing methods. As a health information technician, you use medical billing software to enter data into a computer, follow up on the status of payments, post payments as well as maintain and update patient records and related office duties.

Health insurance billing requires the use of alpha-numeric codes for each type of illness or injury. It's important to assign the correct codes to a bill as this determines the amount for which a given treatment may be reimbursed by the patient's insurance or Medicare or Medicaid. Failure to use the correct codes will result in the denial of payment.

How Do I Prepare For a Career in Insurance Billing?

While some smaller offices or practices may be willing to train a recent high school graduate on the job, the best way to prepare for a career in this challenging field is through coursework toward the completion of a certificate or associate's degree. Many community colleges or other career institutions offer specialized training in billing, accounting and office management procedures.

To qualify for most entry-level insurance billing jobs, you'll need at least a high school diploma as well as a thorough understanding of computers and software, as most billing today is done electronically. Accuracy and attention to detail as well as a knowledge of business math and office procedures are needed to succeed in this field.

Additionally, medical insurance billing requires a knowledge of medical terminology, anatomy, biology, physiology, medical office procedures, coding, and health care reimbursement methods and regulations. Due to the importance of accurate coding for obtaining payment, the ability to research information in standard coding manuals is extremely important.

What is the Income and Outlook For an Insurance Biller?

For those working in the health care industry as information technicians, annual earnings averaged $40,430 for 2015. Jobs for these professionals are expected to increase 15%, between 2024 and 2024. This is due to an increase of elderly patients needing care as the 'Baby Boom' generation reaches their later years, as well as increased use of electronic health records that need technicians to organize them. The BLS reported that insurance billers, also known as billing and posting clerks, are expected to experience 13% employment growth from 2014 to 2024 and had an average salary of $36,300 in 2015.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you are looking for another job in the healthcare field, you could consider becoming a medical assistant. This job combines medical administrative work, such as insurance billing, with basic clinical care, such as taking vital signs and helping doctors with patient examinations. For this job, you would need to complete a postsecondary degree program. You could also consider becoming a pharmacy technician. In this job, you would assist pharmacists with the preparation and dispensation of prescription medications, and you would process insurance claims. Pharmacy technicians need at least a high school diploma.

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