Medical Billing vs. Medical Coding

There’s a reason why the United States healthcare industry is worth an estimated $3.9 trillion. Everyone will need healthcare at some point in their life. Unfortunately, sorting through this staggering healthcare revenue can be a challenge.

So, who decides how the money is split between doctors, pharmacists, insurance companies, and the hundreds of other positions in the healthcare industry? The secret lies in medical billing and coding.

But, what exactly is the difference between medical billing vs. medical coding? If you’re interested in learning more about these two career paths, then you’re in the right place.

In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about these two professions. That way, you can decide which one works best for you. Let’s get started!

What is Medical Coding?

Before we begin it’s important to first go over the difference between the two terms. Let’s start with medical coding. Medical coders deal more with the insurance side of things.

Specifically, their job is to take popular types of diagnoses and healthcare services and translate them into universally understandable codes. These codes are represented by a series of numbers and letters.

Essentially, it’s a shorthand that’s needed by the insurance company. Why? They help determine whether the services will be paid for through insurance reimbursement or direct payment by the patient.

What is Medical Billing?

Medical billers are responsible for interpreting the medical coding. They’re the ones that are responsible for filing insurance claims. It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to deny or reject certain claims.

This is especially true for certain sections of the industry, For example, cardiology medical billing is a service that’s prone to frequent audits.

As such, medical billers in this sector must fill out the claims as accurately as possible. Insurance consulting companies aren’t the only people that medical billers interact with but they’re also responsible for sending out payment statements to the patients themselves.

Medical Billing vs. Medical Coding: Which One is Right for You?

Now, we know some of the broad-stroke differences between medical billing and medical coding. However, if you’re considering a career between the two, then you’re likely wondering which option is right for you.

That’s why we made this section to help you decide. For starters, do you consider yourself more of an introvert or more of an extrovert? If you’re an introvert, then medical coding is probably the right choice for you.

Medical coders deal with data input and record keeping. As such, there isn’t much day-to-day interaction with individuals. Occasionally, you will need to work with other members of the healthcare staff.

But, for the most part, you won’t be talking to people every day. The same isn’t true for medical billing. With this position, you will need to speak with insurance representatives regularly.

What’s more, you will also need to talk to patients about their payments. This isn’t a great role for people who aren’t extroverts. Why? Because more often than not patients will be angry or frustrated when they call you.

Maybe there’s confusion in the payments, or they received a rejection from the insurance company. Regardless of the reason, medical billers will need to be patient and empathetic to deal with them.

You will need to communicate clearly to diffuse the situation and resolve the issue. And, for most introverts, this can be a big challenge. As such, you should think twice about medical billing if you’re shy.

Education and Certification Requirements for Both

The education requirements for medical billers and coders are similar. They typically require an associate’s degree or diploma in medical coding or medical billing. In some roles, employers might require both of these.

However, they diverge slightly in terms of certification. Medical billers typically require the Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (or CBCS) certifications that are offered by the National Healthcare Association (or NHA).

Medical coders, on the other hand, require the Certified Coding Associate (or CCA) that’s offered by the American Health Information Management Association (or AHIMA).

Average Salary for Both

If the most important thing to you is salary, then you’re probably wondering which position pays more. The answer is medical coding. While it depends on the specific job, medical coders make an average of $44,000 per year.

Medical billers, on the other hand, make roughly $39,500 per year. While this isn’t a huge salary difference, it’s important to also look at the job outlook.

Currently, there’s a higher demand for medical coders than there is for medical billers. As such, it will likely be easier to find a good position if you’re a medical coder.

Is It Possible to Do Both Jobs?

If you’re both an introvert and an extrovert, then you might be wondering if it’s possible to do both jobs at once. The answer is yes. Many people handle both medical coding and medical billing in their department.

However, keep in mind that these positions can be hard to find, especially if you don’t have much experience. Generally, employers will want to see that you thrive as a medical coder or biller before they entrust you with both roles.

As such, it helps to get some years of experience under your belt before you apply for a joint position. Just remember that it’s possible if you have the willpower and drive.

Want More Content? Keep Reading

We hope this article helped you learn the difference between medical billing vs. medical coding. As you can see, there are major differences between the two positions.

However, at the end of the day they’re both working toward the same goal: to coordinate payments for the healthcare industry. Did you enjoy this article? If the answer is yes, then you’re in the right place.

Keep exploring to find more topics that you’re sure to love.