Medical coder pay
If you are an entry level medical coder in the United States your pay usually starts at $11 to $13 per hour, an individual with experience of 2-5 years can earn $15-$18 per hour, highly experienced medical coders with specialty certifications can earn as much as $23 per hour, or more. Here is a breakdown of typical factors that can strongly affect the medical coder's take home pay:
Training – Industry specific training and credentials are probably the biggest factors influencing take home pay right along with years of experience.
Experience – Your work experience plays another important role. High recommendations from a former employer who attests to your experience and value to the company speaks louder than anything else in the healthcare industry. This could be your strongest negotiation point when discussing pay.
Company Size & Setting – Large companies may be able to offer higher wages than small businesses. The local job market situation also influences pay rates and the value you bring to the businesses.
Geographic Location – The location of the job can have a big influence on salary. Jobs in a metropolitan area is usually higher compared to small cities and urban areas.
Specialization – A specialty also affects wages. Some medical coders are highly specializes, or consultants in specific areas of the medical and healthcare coding and billing industry. Others are mentors at workshops, professional speakers at seminars, or authors of textbooks and teaching materials.
Self-Employed – Your employment type also affects how much money you can make. While as an employee you are likely on a per hour compensation with incremental wage increases over time, you will set your own rates as a self-employed individual.
A few years ago AAPC published a detailed article and charts on their website that shows how much medical coders typically earn along with a separate list of salaries by specialty and salaries by title. You can probably still find the article if you use a search engine and query: "AAPC wage study and comparison for medical coders".
As of January 1, 2012, medical billing reimbursement claims must be submitted electronically using the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12 Version 5010, the new version of the X12 standards for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) transactions.
Implementation of HIPAA Version 5010 will require changes to software, systems and perhaps procedures that you use for billing Medicare and other payers.
Level I compliance means "that a covered entity can demonstrably create and receive compliant transactions, resulting from the compliance of all design/build activities and internal testing."
Level II compliance means "that a covered entity has completed end-to-end testing with each of its trading partners, and is able to operate in production mode with the new versions of the standards."
HHS permits dual use of existing standards (4010A1 and 5.1) and the new standards (5010 and D.0) from the March 17, 2009, effective date until the January 1, 2012 compliance date to facilitate testing subject to trading partner agreement.
It is extremely important that all medical billing staff and consultants are aware of this HIPAA change and in compliance.
Tough Decisions: Online Medical Assistant Program or Campus Based?
Online medical assistant student
No one can tell you which type of medical coding and billing training program is right for you. Ultimately, you are the one who must choose which path to take to learn your skills.
Part of your decision will be based on how FAST you want to be done and finished with your training, tuition cost and how quickly you hope to land your first real medical assistant job.
Rule of thumb is that self-paced online courses can be finished the fastest if you apply yourself, however, on the flip side, doctors may not be easily persuaded or convinced to hire you without having direct experience and hands on practice which you would have gotten in a campus based training program.
All too many former medical coding and billing online students have learned a painful lesson.
As with any kind of education, there are things to be aware of and different programs have their pros and cons. Making a wise choice and informed decisions puts you into a position where you won't have to regret it later.
Should you decide that going with a web based program better fits your schedule, budget and personality than bear in mind that no matter which online school you choose you have to ask certain questions BEFORE signing up for anything.
First and foremost check out the fees that the online nursing charges for their courses and find out their refund policy. It is common practice of all reputable online vocational training schools to be up-front with their fees, since they realize it is important to new students to know how much they will be paying for the course.
Putting forth a sincere effort to discuss all fees person-to-person over the phone helps to build trust in the school.
You will need to check out the course requirements before signing up for anything. Each school has different requirements that must be met before entering their program.
Almost all online self-study programs to become a medical coder and biller require a high school diploma while a few want you to have specific course studies from other schools.
Some online medical assistant programs, especially those approved by the Department of Education, require competency in complex clinical and technical skills to earn their degree, which can only taught under the direct supervision of a qualified instructor or professional in the field who is familiar with a wide range of medical assistant duties.
There are countless medical coding and billing students who have told us that finding their own clinical internship site was EXTREMELY challenging and frustrating and some of them gave up, never earning their medical assistant diploma or degree.
Therefore this is probably the most important part of evaluating a prospective online medical assistant school.
Certain online programs operate on the same premise of standard schools and might require that their students complete a minimum number of hours in class room study to be eligible to graduate; so, make sure to ask whether a program is entirely web based, or partially web based.
All that is required should be listed in the course description and should be discussed in person during the review process.
Academic degrees is another area where one should put fourth some effort in research before signing up for anything. If the online program does not offer the degree that you need to get the job you want, then it is useless to you as a school.
Don't be discouraged, most of the online medical coding and billing schools, and allied health vocational colleges for that matter, allow you to achieve the type of degree that you want.
Worth Your Consideration When Making Career Choices: Phlebotomist
The phlebotomist, the person who draws blood samples from patients arms or finger tips, is a highly specialized, valuable member of the medical and healthcare team as a whole. Without the phlebotomist's skills and services many diagnoses and health assessments could not be as reliably performed.
Most phlebotomists have a high school education, others have an academic degree in medical technology, some received their training directly on the job under the supervision of a doctor, nurse or experienced phlebotomist, others took a phlebotomy course offered through the American Red Cross, or a community college, others while serving in the military as a combat medic or hospital corpsman role.
A skilled phlebotomist deserves high praise, yet, they are usually paid the least amount of wages on the allied health professional's pay scale, probably because their training is not as extensive as, let's say, an EKG and x-ray technician, or medical assistant. In a way, that is unfair, because there is tremendous value in their services that can never be repaid in money.
Phlebotomists draw blood for tests, transfusions, donations, or research and explain the procedure to patients who ask.
They must know the circulatory system anatomy and composition of blood along with the medical terminology that goes with it, be able to access a vein, or artery, or capillary blood bed of all kinds of people from young, to old, to obese, to emaciated, to those with veins that roll, to those who easily faint, or are deadly afraid of needles.
They need to understand different venipuncture techniques and the equipment to be used to draw and preserve the blood sample. Additionally, they must know how to read laboratory requisition slips, follow doctor's orders, work safely with patients, handle blood and other potentially hazardous body fluids and know how to clean up blood spills safely and dispose them in accordance with OSHA regulations.
If any of this is not approached with great care and handled properly, it can result in severe injury, if not death.