Medical billing clerks get an annual salary of $34,189 in the US. This is according to the latest basic market pricing report prepared by the salary.com’s certified compensation professionals who analyze survey data collected from thousands of employers in all industries and geographies in America. Other sources have slightly different figures. For instance, the United States Bureau of Labour Statistics and the United States Association of Professional Coders estimate the average salary for all medical coders and billers in America to be $36,000 or approximately $17.27/hour. The two organizations estimate the lowest average medical biller and coder salary to be $21,680 and the highest to be $55,000 annually. The difference in salaries can be attributed to factors like employer, location, experience and certification type.
Pay scale in different parts of the US
As mentioned above, medical biller salaries vary depending on many factors. Location is one of the most important variables when examining the difference in salaries of medical billers working in America. Although some of the geographical income differences are directly connected with the cost of living in respective states, some places in America generally have a higher demand for medical billers which translates to higher salaries. For instance the Northeast and the West Coast regions in America offer the best medical biller salary ranging from $36,000 – $52,000. Some of the states that fall in this category include; New Hampshire, California, New Jersey and Massachusetts. It is not surprising that these states are among the most highly populated states in America. The states are also associated with an above average cost of living.
It is important to note that there are exceptions to the above pay scale determinants since not all densely populated states have a high cost of living. States like Colorado and Alaska have a lower cost of living and a low population but the states still top the list of states in America with the highest average medical biller salary because of scarcity to such professionals. In general, states which pay medical billers the lowest salaries are generally concentrated in the southern parts of America where the average standard of living is below the national average. For instance, Mississippi, Louisiana, West Virginia and Alabama have an annual average medical biller salary ranging between $22,500 and $32,000 annually.
Medical biller job description
Medical billers are generally responsible the bills or amounts owed to medical facilities. This work encompasses reviewing and maintaining orders, invoices and records with the aim of ensuring accuracy. To discharge their duties perfectly, medical billers need to maintain all patient payment records. The primary job functions of medical billers don’t typically require them to exercise independent judgement. They work under the direct supervision of medical facility supervisors or managers.
How to become a medical biller
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To stand a chance of becoming a medical biller in America, you need at least a high school diploma and 0 to 2 years experience in a related field. Generally, medical billers must have knowledge of commonly used concepts, procedures and practices within their field of work. It is however important to note that such knowledge is usually learnt on the job. It is therefore accurate to conclude that there are no specific formal educational requirements for becoming a medical biller. You however have an advantage if you have educational training like an associate’s degree in computer science, chemistry, biology or maths from a recognized community college.
Most employers offer on the job training provided you prove your mastery of nationally recognized coding and billing standards devised by the government and the healthcare industry. It is also important to note that medical billers in the US don’t require any specific certification. Most employers will however consider candidates with CMRS (Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist) certification first before they consider those with no relevant certification at all. CMRS certification takes between 9 and 12 months and covers basic sciences and math knowledge. Medical billers who are familiar with medical terminologies, insurance procedures, coding and billing procedures as well as computer database management stand a higher chance of getting employed.
Some skills and qualities are also necessary when you want to become a medical biller in the US. For instance, you need to have good communication and critical thinking skills. You also need to have strong knowledge on medical billing as well as other medical related subjects. Medical billers should have an eye for details and be able to work independently. Other additional qualities that may come in handy include; high ethical standards (because of the nature of the information medical billers handle) and empathy since medical billers must undertake their duties in stressful conditions.
As mentioned above medical billers are not expected to have any kind of certification. It is however important to note that certification increase the chances of landing on high paying job. In most cases, medical billers acquire certification while working. One of the most important medical biller certification is; CMRS or Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist certification.
Medical biller salary in Canada, Australia and the UK
Believe it or not, America offers the lowest medical biller salary in the world today. Countries like Australia pay the best medical biller salaries i.e. an average of AU$180,000 which translates to $163,000. This is way higher than the American standards. The UK also pays medical billers better than the US i.e. and annual average salary of £73,000 or $121,000. Canada falls in the same league as the US with an annual medical biller salary of C$33,000 or $30,000.
From the above information, it is obvious that Australia and the UK are the best countries to work in as a medical biller. The huge disparity in medical biller salary can be attributed to a huge scarcity of medical billers in Australia and the UK. The nature of the job may also be a contributing factor since medical billers play a very significant role in ensuring medical facilities are financially stable. Australia and the UK also have very strict training and certification requirements for medical billers unlike the US and Canada which makes it very challenging for most people to qualify. This explains why successful candidates are rewarded handsomely.