Medical billing and coding can be a rewarding career path. In fact, some coders receive a salary comparable to healthcare professionals. Still, many wonder, how much do medical billing and coding make an hour?
In this post, we will give you a quick preview of the medical billing and coding salary and how much you can expect to earn on an hourly basis.
The role of medical coding in revenue cycle management
Medical coding companies play a big role in the healthcare industry, ensuring that practices will have seamless financial management. Here are the roles of medical coding in revenue cycle management:
- Accurate documentation. Medical coders ensure that practices will have proper documentation on every diagnosis, service, treatment, and procedure. They do this by assigning proper codes necessary for insurance reimbursement and other purposes.
- Revenue optimization. Medical coding services are crucial to ensure that healthcare practices are receiving fast reimbursements from payers. This is possible by submitting properly coded claims, which prevents delays or denials.
- Regulation compliance. Medical coders are integral in meeting various guidelines and regulations from various agencies, such as the American Medical Association (AMA).
- Cost control. For many practices, poorly managed coding can lead to incorrect documentation. In the long run, this will end up in additional expenses and even loss of revenue.
How much can you earn from medical coding services hourly?
The best medical coding services pay their coders a median salary of $22.43 per hour. However, this can be much higher, depending on various factors, such as location, specialization, and so on.
At this rate, a medical coder working 40 hours a week can earn $44,000 a year – give or take a few hundred bucks.
However, highly experienced medical coders can earn as much as $122,000 a year. Meanwhile, mid-level coders can pocket $59,000 to $97,000 annually aside from their companies’ additional perks.
Factors affecting the hourly cost of medical coding salary
Although medical coders are crucial for revenue cycle management in healthcare, pay widely varies.
Your experience level as a medical coder is a major factor that will affect your hourly pay. If you’re an entry-level coder with limited experience, you should expect lower hourly rates compared to more experienced coders. But as you gain more experience over time, you can demand higher hourly rates based on your improved skills.
Obtaining professional certifications in medical coding, such as the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) credential offered by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), can improve your hourly pay. Being a certified coder will allow you to command higher rates due to your specialized knowledge, competence, and adherence to industry standards.
Your location can have a significant influence on your hourly cost as a medical coder. Wage disparities exist across different regions due to variations in living costs, demand for services, and local market conditions. If you’re in an area with higher costs of living or limited access to skilled medical coders, you may be able to get higher hourly rates to attract clients.
4. Work Setting
The work setting in which you provide your medical coding services can also impact your hourly cost. You may be employed by hospitals, physician offices, clinics, or work remotely as an independent contractor.
Hourly rates for RCM services may vary depending on the level of demand for coding services in that particular setting. If you are a remote or freelance coder, you may have more flexibility in setting your rates.
Your specialization in a specific area of medical coding can also impact your hourly cost. If you have specialized knowledge and expertise in a high-demand area such as cardiology, orthopedics, or dermatology, you may be able to get higher rates compared to general coders.
6. Demand and Supply
The overall demand for medical coding services and the availability of qualified coders in your market will influence your hourly salary. If there is a shortage of skilled medical coders in your area, you’ll likely get higher hourly rates. On the other hand, if there are too many coders in your area, it may drive down your hourly rates.
7. Complexity of Coding
The complexity of coding required for a specific healthcare facility or specialty can impact your hourly pay as well. Some coding assignments may be more complex and require a higher level of expertise and attention to detail. If you specialize in complex coding scenarios, you may be able to ask for higher hourly rates to reflect the additional skills required.
The hourly rates of medical coders vary based on specialization, location, and skill level. On average, the pay for this position is $22.43 but with upskilling, you can also increase your income.
In general, professional coders will take continuing education and further certification to increase their market value. From there, they can work for bigger companies and eventually land a higher pay rate.
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