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How Much Do Medical Coders and Billers Make? A Complete Salary Guide

If you’re considering a career in the healthcare industry, you’ve probably read about the job opportunities in medical coding and billing. The thought of working at leading hospitals and doctor’s clinics may be exciting, but it’s important to know how much medical coders and billers make. When you’re choosing a career path, it’s not just about the starting salary. A career should give you future financial security as well, such that you are able to meet your needs at every stage of life. Plus, it isn’t just about your needs. Research shows that many also take care of aging parents. A 2020 study by the Insured Retirement Institute revealed that over 49% of millennials aim to provide financial assistance to their parents in their post-retirement years. But fulfilling these responsibilities can become difficult when you are also raising your own family while attempting to build a nest egg for retirement.

The good news is that there is high demand for medical coders and billers in the healthcare industry. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment in the healthcare sector to grow 16% between 2020 and 2030. This represents a pace that is meaningfully higher than most other professions. As the healthcare system in the country adopts new technologies and as telemedicine gains traction, there will be a higher demand for professionals who can process crucial data accurately and quickly for billing and insurance purposes.

There are several avenues for medical coders and billers, as they can seek job opportunities at hospitals, doctor’s clinics, healthcare consulting firms, insurance agencies, educational institutions, government agencies, and even legal firms. In this scenario, let us understand the salary trends in medical coding and billing, while also looking at various factors that influence the pay scale of these professionals.

How Much Do Medical Coders & Billers Make?

Medical coders, considering both certified and non-certified, earned an average annual salary of approximately $54,797 in 2021. Understandably, certified medical coder salary is higher than those offered to their non-certified colleagues. At an annual income of $60,097, certified billers and coders earned 27% more than those without certifications in 2021.

Average Salary of Medical Coders and Billers Based on Certification
Certification Median Salary
Certified Professional Coder (CPC®) $58,055
Certified Professional Biller (CPB®) $56,652
Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC®) $57,936
Certified Outpatient Coder (COC®) $62,846
Certified Professional Coder-Instructor (CPC-I™) $74,822
Certified Professional Coder-Payer (CPC-P™) $60,753
Source: AAPC 2022 Medical Billing and Coding Salary Report

Certification certainly comes with rewards, especially in the healthcare segment. Leading hospitals and clinics have made certification a mandatory requirement to make job offers. The more credentials you have, the greater your income potential. For instance, in 2021, the average salary for coders with two credentials rose to $64,712, while billing and coding specialists with three and more certifications earned $69,942 per annum.

Your take-home salary will depend on various factors, such as

  • Total salary
  • State tax rate
  • Federal income tax rate
  • Benefits and deductions
This means that the state in which you work will influence your income.

Medical Coding Salary is More in Some Areas

In the post-pandemic world, not all US states have exhibited uniform economic recovery. According to a research conducted by University of New Hampshire, by October 2021, Idaho and Utah had recovered 115% and 133% of their lost jobs, respectively, surpassing the pre-pandemic employment levels. On the other hand, states like Wyoming had recovered only 36%.

The difference in state economies reflects employment cost and consumer price indices too. This again causes disparities in the average state salaries for medical coding and billing. In 2021, the topmost paying areas for medical coders and billers were:

District of Columbia: For medical coders, the average annual salary of $70,843 in D.C. is significantly higher than the annual average in the South Atlantic region. A CPC-certified medical coder's salary here is $60,555 per annum. One of the strongest markets for relevant jobs, the region has a high cost of living too. Living in Washington DC is 59% costlier than the national average. On the bright side, there are plenty of remote work opportunities. If you’re not working remotely, you can live just outside the District of Columbia and travel for work, since the district boasts a strong transportation system.

Massachusetts: The average annual salary for medical coders in this state stands at $67,260. The Boston metropolitan area is a massive hub for medical records and health information technicians. Hospitals and group practices hire numerous medical billers and coders. The top earners in the region have credentials like CPC, CPC-I, COC, CPB, CPPM, CDEO, and CEMC.

Hawaii: The average medical coding salary in Hawaii is $66,902. Major cities with good job prospects include Honolulu, Wailuku, and Hilo. The largest employers here are hospitals, health insurance companies, and health systems. Remote workers tend to earn more than the annual average, at $71,507. CPC, CPMA, and CRC are some of the most in-demand credentials in the region.

Some other states that offer attractive annual salaries are Maryland ($66,310), California ($66,224), and New Hampshire ($62,967).

States Paying Highest Salaries to Certified Coders and Billers
State Average Salary Average Hourly Salary
District of Columbia $70,843 $34.06
Massachusetts $67,260 $32.34
Hawaii $66,902 $32.16
Maryland $66,310 $31.88
California $66,224 $31.84
New Hampshire $62,967 $30.27
Source: 2021 Medical Coding and Billing Salary Report

Experienced Coders and Billers Earn More

In every industry, experience influences your career prospects. After all, a chef de partie does earn more than a sous chef. Everyone needs to work hard and climb the ranks through their dedication and creativity.

Similarly, in the healthcare industry, medical billing and medical coding starting salary can be much less than the pay of an experienced worker. For example, a CPC certified medical coder's salary is approximately $45,456 per annum. Salary increments typically happen the most during the first 10 years. Based on experience alone, the salary of a certified medical coder or biller can increase up to 60% during the course of their career.

According to a 2019 salary survey (conducted by AHIMA) of health information management (HIM) professionals, an employee with experience of 21 to 30 years could earn an average annual salary of $81,510, while those with 31+ years of experience could earn up to $86,390 per annum, on average.

A Strong Emphasis on Education and Credentials

The job of a proficient medical biller and coder is crucial for the entire healthcare system to function smoothly and in compliance with laws. It is also critical for patients to be billed accurately and receive proper coverage from insurers. It comes as no surprise then that healthcare organizations and insurance agencies seek medical billers and coders with the right knowledge and training. This is the reason certification has become mandatory in most healthcare facilities.

In 2021, CPBs, CICs, and CDEOs benefited from the highest salary increases. CIC stands for Certified Inpatient Coder, which is the only certification program for professionals to seek inpatient coding jobs in hospitals and healthcare facilities. The CICs have expertise in extrapolating information from the medical record for ICD-10-PCS and ICD-10-CM coding, along with other areas like Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS). In 2021, CICs accounted for the highest salary increase of 7.67% with an average of $57,936 per annum.

Will Working Remotely Impact Your Salary Potential?

Among the many benefits of pursuing a career as a medical coder or biller is the flexibility to work remotely without any loss of efficiency. Earlier, the option of remote work was reserved for experienced coders. Following the onset of the pandemic, healthcare companies offered this option to those beginning their careers. In fact, For The Record magazine reported that more than 50% of coders worked remotely in 2020, and only 17% were working completely onsite. The average base pay for remote medical coders is $43,138 per annum. For a remote medical biller, the average annual pay stood at $54,888, as of January 06, 2022.

Statistics show that remote workers in some regions earned more than their on-site counterparts. So, remote jobs may not have any financial implications for you.

Hybrid work has become ubiquitous in the medical coding industry, despite a rise in vaccination rates. Thanks to advanced technologies and robust communication tools, healthcare facilities are able to flourish with the remote model, which is no longer limited to telemedicine.

-- Abdul Alim - 2022-10-13


How Much Do Medical Coders and Billers Make? A Complete Salary Guide

Topic revision: r1 - 2022-10-13 - AbdulAlim
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