The Future Outlook and Trends of Medical Coding Salaries

Medical Coding Salaries
Medical coding salaries are an important element of healthcare organizations that show how much they value certain aspects. These aspects can accurately indicate the future outlook and trends of your medical billing coding salary.

This blog illuminates those aspects in detail and uncovers ways to estimate the status of salaries based on future coding practices. We will also highlight how these aspects can be used to derive important career projections for the future.

What Is the Future of Medical Coding Salaries?

Future of Medical Coding Salaries
The future of medical coding salaries depends on how certain aspects of the healthcare sector turn out. These aspects directly impact the salaries of medical billers and coders. 

Changes in these aspects can result in significant variations in the future outlook and trends of medical coding salaries.

These aspects usually comprise increasing medical billing and coding salary levels, education and work experience. You can also analyze occupation, credentials, geographic location, and some miscellaneous aspects to determine the future of your medical coding salary.

    1. Increasing Salary Levels

The medical coding auditor salary levels usually increase with time. This common trend also applies to medical coding, and aspiring coders should be aware of its future outlook. You can also use this data to compare your salary levels with those of other medical professionals.

The US Department of Labor recently reported a third-quarter income of $55,40 in all industries for the year 2022. It is significantly higher than the reported median pay of $46,660 for medical records specialists in 2021.

Medical coding salaries fall under this pay, which apparently shows a bleak future for coders. However, this discrepancy is not entirely accurate as the above median income includes other professions apart from medical coding. The following aspects paint a more accurate image.

    2. Education

Medical coders with a Bachelor’s degree are earning less than the ones holding an associate degree or no degree at all. In 2022, salaries with an associate degree, a college degree, and without a degree were $55,833, $53,654, and $54,342 respectively.

This difference is a result of less experienced and young medical coders overtaking their experienced and senior counterparts. Many professionals predict that the cost of college degrees will far outweigh their value in the future for medical coding.

In addition, college enrollment is also decreasing, and this trend will likely continue. You can counter this gap between compensation and education by prioritizing financially sound options other than college. Coders can enroll in training programs to develop medical coding skills.

    3. Work Experience

Work experience is important to predict the future outlook and trends of medical coding salaries. It has more impact on medical coders’ income than their education. The financial reports on the work experience of medical coding support this observation.

They suggest that junior healthcare business professionals like coders and billers earn way less than their senior counterparts. For example, the median pay of $39,569 for a coder just starting out is way less. A senior earns at least a median of $64,944 with 20 years of experience.

These statistics show that building your work experience is vital for ensuring a stable future for your medical coding career. You can start out with a lower pay and work your way up with an increasing salary for medical billing and coding.

    4. Place of Service

The place of service also matters for coders to estimate their career’s future, specifically medical coding salaries. Current trajectories of salaries paid by healthcare organizations signify hope for an ideal future in the medical coding domain.

Medical coders and billers earned a median income of $59,129 in 2023. In this category, the employees of small group and solo practices earned the least income. They were paid a combined median income of $50,709 only.

As a result, many medical coders migrated their career positions from small physician practices to large group practices in the past. This trend signifies that you must shift from small clinics to large and well-established hospitals for career growth.

    5. Occupation

You can also analyze your occupational responsibilities to assess how much you can grow as a medical coder. Hospitals and clinics set various responsibilities for their medical coding jobs. Their complexity is directly related to the levels of compensation for their medical coders.

More complex job responsibilities mean more medical coding salaries. This way, the rate of increase for your income is likely to be more than that of other billing professions. The total number of medical coders is also higher than the number of employees in other domains.

In addition, medical coders can also branch out to extensive occupational fields that include other key job responsibilities. They largely comprise coding and practice managers who earn significantly more and have a brighter future outlook.

    6. Credentials

Provider credentialing is equally important, as you have to undergo strict training to achieve your credentials. Your skill set is a more constructive indicator of your credentials than your education level. Your credentials are also not an effective reflection of your experience. 

You can undertake top certifications like Certified Outpatient Coder and Certified Professional Coder that can directly increase your income. This signifies that you can hold certain credentials to increase your medical coding salaries.

The median incomes for no credentials and a single one were $46,321 and $56,290, respectively, in 2022. The Certified Professional Compliance Officer credential earned a median income of $81,495. You can undertake such courses to elevate your future outlook.

    7. Geographic Location

Your geographic location, particularly the state, matters a lot when it comes to your career’s future. Pay rates in the healthcare sector are directly affected by the cost of living, which varies across the US. Therefore, you can study the policies and trends of your state for a better idea.

Medical coding salaries differ by region, with a massive difference of 30.3% across the states in 2022. You can derive an easy conclusion from this, which formulates the need to settle in an ideal state for a better future outlook.

Recent surveys report the highest average income of $67,660, with an hourly rate of $32.53 in California. The lowest average medical billing and coding salary Indiana is $47,176, with $22.68 as its average salary per hour.

    8. Miscellaneous Aspects

There are some miscellaneous aspects as well that can formulate your future in medical coding. They usually comprise the number of hours worked, unemployment, and types of payment. You can also avail of certain financial benefits that add to your medical coding and billing salary.

Almost all healthcare organizations offer dental and health insurance for their medical coders and billers. Some hospitals and clinics even pay you to continue your medical education, like undertaking certifications. You can also be offered paid time off and retirement plans.

You should research and target those medical institutes that provide coding and auditing software to increase your work’s accuracy. Working in such an environment is bound to elevate your skill set and set a career path with lucrative medical coding salaries.

Future Projections of Medical Coding

Future of Medical Coding
You can carefully examine these aspects to make accurate projections for the transformation of medical coding in the future. There are three main projections that are readily indicated in the current trends of these aspects.

The projections include a further increase in the demand for medical coders, evolving coding policies, and integrated automation.

    1. Increased Demand for Medical Coders

The US is currently experiencing an aging population and rapid advancements in healthcare technologies. 

These factors comprehensively signify a simultaneous increase in the demand for coders and medical coding salaries in the future. 

More and more patient records and medical claims will require an accurate coding of their availed healthcare services like payment posting. Your medical coding will determine efficient reimbursements to your medical institute.

    2. Integrated Automation

There is already a surge of automated medical tools to make medical coding more efficient and minimize errors. 

The healthcare sector will continue to release advanced tools in the future, and you will be required to use them. In addition, you will also have to integrate their automation with your coding process for all of the billing processes. 

As an example, you may have to integrate the electronic health records of your medical institute with its automated coding systems.

    3. Evolving Coding Policies

Medical coding is a complex process that undergoes regular changes, particularly to its policies. These policies pertain to your standardized code sets like CPT and ICD-10. 

You have to regularly update them according to the relevant medical advances and regulatory changes. Therefore, you will be required to constantly stay updated so that you can instantly make the necessary changes to your medical codes. 

This way, your ability to adapt to the evolving coding policies will determine the future of your medical coding salaries.

The Bottom Line

This blog explored various aspects of medical coding that can be assessed to determine the future outlook of medical coding salaries. We also learned how these aspects can be utilized to derive future projections for coders.

Health Quest Billing has a team of dedicated billing analysts ready to solve all your salary queries. Contact us today to devise ideal strategies for you to exponentially increase your salary in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1. What is the job outlook for the healthcare industry, especially medical coders?

The healthcare industry, specifically for medical coders, is projected to see increased demand due to an aging population and advancements in healthcare technologies. The need for correct coding of patient records and medical claims signifies a promising job outlook for coders.

    2. How does the insurance company determine reimbursement for healthcare providers?

Insurance companies use the alphanumeric codes submitted by coding professionals to determine reimbursements for healthcare providers. The accurate coding of medical care availed ensures efficient reimbursement claims to the medical facilities.

    3. What is the difference between the median salary and the annual salary for coding specialists?

The median salary represents the midpoint where half earn more and half earn less, while the annual salary is the yearly earnings for coding specialists. The annual salary might vary based on experience, education, and other factors, but the median provides a more general overview.

    4. Do healthcare facilities prefer coders with professional certifications?

Yes, healthcare facilities often prefer coders with professional certifications, such as the Certified Professional Biller or Certified Coding Specialist. These certifications can significantly increase a coder’s annual wage and job prospects in the medical field.

    5. How does the hourly wage for coding professionals in South Carolina compare with the national average?

The article specifically mentions California and Indiana’s hourly wages but does not detail South Carolina’s hourly wage. However, it’s mentioned that salaries differ by region, so comparing to the national average would give insights into individual state wages.

    6. Why is medical terminology important for coding specialists?

Medical terminology is essential for coding specialists to ensure they assign the correct codes for patient care procedures and diagnoses. Proper understanding ensures accurate medical documentation, vital for health insurance companies and patient files.

    7. Is a college education necessary for medical coding positions, or can one opt for degree programs and other training?

While a college education is beneficial, the trend shows that medical coders with Bachelor’s degrees might earn less than those with an associate degree or no degree. Degree programs and specialized training, like coding program certifications, can be more financially viable and skill-oriented.

    8. What is the role of health information technicians in healthcare facilities?

Health information technicians, including coding professionals, play a vital role in managing and ensuring the accuracy of medical documentation. They handle tasks like coding patient information, ensuring correct reimbursement claims, and managing patient files.

    9. How does the annual wage of coding professionals in healthcare facilities compare to the national average?

The wage of coding professionals can vary widely based on several factors, including geographic location. In 2022, the difference between states was as large as 30.3%. It’s essential to compare specific state wages to the national average to understand the salary range better.

    10. Do health systems and medical offices in South Dakota offer job training for coding positions?

The article does not specify the practices of health systems in South Dakota. However, many medical facilities and physician group practices across the US offer training, especially as medical coding requires understanding the evolving coding policies and using integrated automation tools.