Medical Insurance Biller Careers: Salary Info & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of a medical insurance billing career? Get real job descriptions, career outlook and salary info to see if becoming a medical insurance billing specialist is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of Becoming a Medical Insurance Billing Specialist

Medical insurance billing specialists work behind the scenes to ensure that doctors and hospitals are paid for the services they provide. Learn more about the pros and cons of the medical insurance billing field to make an informed career decision.

Pros of a Medical Insurance Billing Career
Faster-as-average growing field (18% projected growth from 2012-2022)*
Entry-level positions require a 2-year degree or less*
Jobs available in a wide range of healthcare settings*
Work in a comfortable office environment*

Cons of a Medical Insurance Billing Career
Some positions require overtime, nights or weekends*
May require certification*
Requires knowledge of specialized billing software*
Relatively low pay for the medical field (about $11-$19 hourly)**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

Career Information

Job Description

Medical insurance billing specialists work in physicians' offices, hospitals, long-term care facilities or other healthcare offices, performing billing duties. Most medical insurance billing specialists work full-time, and some positions require working nights or weekends. The work often includes posting charges and payments to accounts, verifying insurance and initiating reimbursement. Some offices require medical insurance billing specialists to perform insurance coding duties, which involves assigning codes for diagnoses and procedures based on physicians' documents.

Salary Info and Career Prospects

According to PayScale.com, most medical insurance billing specialists earned between approximately $11 and $19 per hour as of July 2015, or between $24,000 and $471,000 per year, including bonuses and overtime pay. Keep in mind that your earning potential in this career may not rise significantly with experience; billers with less than one year of experience usually earned from about $23,000-$45,000 annually, while those with 20 or more years of experience earned about $25,000-$52,000 annually.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that the employment rate for billing and posting clerks would grow by 18% from 2012-2022. The faster-than average growth is based on the increased demand for healthcare services and the need for medical billers. Due to the replacement of older workers, favorable job prospects are available for all financial clerks, including billing and posting clerks.

Career Skills and Requirements

You may enter this career with as little as a certificate in medical insurance billing, though some billing specialists hold associate's degrees in the major. In these programs, you'll cover topics like medical billing methods, software use, medical terminology, coding systems and other skills that are necessary to perform the job. In some cases, employers may allow you to substitute education with experience. Strong technical skills and attention to detail are important for this career. While you may not work with patients directly, you'll still need strong communication skills to be able to confer with physicians and other staff about billing issues.

Job Postings from Real Employers

The main requirement for becoming a medical insurance billing specialist is experience or a certificate. Employers tend to advertise for personable billers with expertise in specialized billing software. Below are some examples of job postings found in March 2012:

  • A Texas company is looking for a medical insurance billing specialist with 3 years of billing experience and 1 year of insurance verification experience to work any assigned shift, including weekends.
  • A company based in Arizona advertised for a medical insurance billing specialist with at least 2 years of medical billing experience or a certificate in medical billing. Candidates must have knowledge of the ICD-9 classification system and current procedural terminology (CPT) coding as well as medical terminology and office software.
  • A Florida company is looking for a medical insurance billing specialist with at least 5 years of insurance billing experience as well as knowledge of ICD-9 and CPT coding, Medicare and Medicaid. The preferred candidate has excellent customer service skills and works well independently.

How to Stand Out

You can begin to prepare yourself for this career as early as in high school by taking courses related to the profession, like health and computer science. This may also increase your chances of admission to a postsecondary training program in medical billing. You can also familiarize yourself with specialized billing systems, such as ICD-9 and CPT, knowledge of which is often required by employers. The software and billing procedures change over time, so it's important to stay up-to-date with current methods, either through self study or continuing education courses.

Get Certified

You can earn certification to stand out in the medical insurance billing field; in fact, many employers only hire certified candidates. The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) awards several coding credentials to individuals who obtain at least 2 years of coding experience or the equivalent and pass a written exam. You might, for example, pursue the Certified Professional Coder or Certified Professional Medical Auditor credentials. According to the AAPC, certification increases an individual's salary up to 17% compared to noncertified billers and coders.

Other Careers to Consider

Medical Assistant

If a career as medical insurance billing specialist doesn't appeal to you, consider becoming a medical assistant. In this profession, you'll conduct both clinical and administrative functions in physicians' offices. Along with scheduling appointments and managing medical records, you might administer injections and take vital signs. Employment in this field was projected to increase at a faster-than-average rate of 31% from 2010-2020, according to the BLS. These professionals earned a median salary of $29,100 as of May 2012. This position does not require formal training, though you may benefit from earning a certificate, diploma or associate's degree in medical assistance.

Medical Secretary

If you'd rather work in an administrative position with a wider variety of medical office duties, consider becoming a medical secretary. This profession is among the fastest growing fields in the nation; the BLS predicted that jobs would increase by 41% from 2010-2010. The median salary for medical secretaries was about $31,000 as of May 2011. There are no formal education requirements for medical secretaries, though you may prepare for the career by earning a medical secretary certificate or 2-year degree.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Purdue University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Health Informatics
      • Master of Health Information Management
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Healthcare Admin
      • BS in Health Information Management
      • Bachelor: Health Science
    Certificate
      • Medical Billing and Coding Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
    Master's
      • MBA: Health Systems Management
      • MS in Health Care Administration
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Health Care Administration
      • BS in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care
      • Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Saint Leo University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS: Healthcare Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Healthcare Admin and Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Healthcare Admin and Management
  • Online Programs Available
    5. The George Washington University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSHS Clinical Operations & Healthcare Management
      • MSHS in Biomedical Informatics
    Bachelor's
      • Dual Degree: BSHS in Clinical Research Administration/MSHS in Regulatory Affairs
      • BSHS in Clinical Operations and Healthcare Management
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    6. College of Health Care Professions

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Medical Coding and Billing-Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Public Safety Leadership
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Project Management
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Health Information Management
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science - Insurance Billing and Coding Specialist
      • Associate: Health Information Management
      • Associate: Healthcare Management
    Certificate
      • Diploma: Medical Office Admin
  • Online Programs Available
    8. The University of Scranton

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA - Healthcare Management
      • Master of Health Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Organizational Leadership: Health Care Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Colorado Christian University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Health Care Administration, B.S.
    Associate's
      • Health Care Administration, A.S.

Featured Schools

Purdue University Global

  • Master of Health Informatics
  • Bachelor: Healthcare Admin
  • Medical Billing and Coding Certificate

Which subject are you interested in?

Grand Canyon University

  • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
  • MBA: Health Systems Management
  • BS in Health Care Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Saint Leo University

  • BS: Healthcare Administration

What is your highest level of education completed?

Colorado State University Global

  • MS - Healthcare Admin and Management
  • BS - Healthcare Admin and Management

What is your highest level of education?

The George Washington University

  • MSHS Clinical Operations & Healthcare Management
  • MSHS in Biomedical Informatics
  • Dual Degree: BSHS in Clinical Research Administration/MSHS in Regulatory Affairs
  • BSHS in Clinical Operations and Healthcare Management

What is your highest level of education?

College of Health Care Professions

  • Medical Coding and Billing-Certificate

What is your highest level of education completed?

Herzing University

  • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Technology Management
  • Bachelor: Health Information Management
  • Associate of Science - Insurance Billing and Coding Specialist
  • Diploma: Medical Office Admin

What is your highest level of education?

The University of Scranton

  • MBA - Healthcare Management
  • Master of Health Administration

What is your highest level of education?