The healthcare industry is a vast sector with high demand for workers; one of which is medical coders. An individual who wants to work in the healthcare industry but prefers to stay out of the emergency and operating rooms can work as a medical coder.
For the uninitiated, a medical coder’s main task is to provide data to medical billers. Billing companies would then file a claim for reimbursement by healthcare insurance companies. The coder does this by assigning universally accepted numeric codes for a patient’s every transaction with a medical care service provider.
These transactions may include checkups or consultations, visits, laboratory tests, and medical equipment use such as CT scan, X-ray, and the likes. A coder is likewise tasked to translate the diagnosis and treatment via numeric codes.
If you’re considering a career in the healthcare industry but don’t want to expose yourself to potential health risks, medical coding may be for you. Discover the benefits of being a medical coder in this article.
The Advantages of Being a Medical Coder
Medical coders and billers typically work closely together. In smaller business settings, an individual may be asked to perform these tasks. In bigger companies, the tasks of handling a high volume of medical claims and other related transactions must be done by a medical coder and a medical biller separately.
1. Be a Part of a Stable Industry
The healthcare sector is one of the most stable and fastest-growing industries in the world. Overall, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that healthcare jobs will continue to grow steeply, as most countries continue to have an aging population. As the elderly population increases, so are the need for medical services. As a result, the BLS predicts healthcare jobs to grow at an average of 18% by 2026.
2. Medical Coders are Highly in Demand
Medical coders form a part of the sub-sector called medical records and health information technicians. This sector, the BLS further cites, is set to grow by 13% by 2026, which exceeds the average occupational growth rate across all industries, estimated at around 7%.
In times of pandemic, an increased need for medical workers, including medical coders is unquestionable. Medical facilities have been grappling with unusually high cases of illnesses. In parallel to this, medical claims and reimbursements should be fast-tracked.
3. You Can Earn a Competitive Pay
Like any other job, the salary range for medical coders varies. Education, training and certificates received, location or place of work, type of employer, job functions, and experience all contribute to specific salaries of coders.
BLS further cites that health information technicians, medical coders included, earned anywhere from $27,820 to $71,150 as of the 2017 survey.
As mentioned, medical coders who have experience and have ample training may earn higher than their other counterparts. Some employers also offer higher salaries to medical coders, who may be hired by medical facilities, educational institutions, healthcare insurance companies, law firms, and government agencies.
4. You Have a Variety of Options
To start your career as a medical coder, you can take a course in a community college or technical school, as well as other institutions that offer this type of curriculum. It takes about two years to earn a post-secondary certificate or an associate’s degree and start earning as a medical coder. An advanced degree will increase your chances of getting a better-paying job, so taking a bachelor’s degree related to the job will help.
If you don’t have time for in-person classes, you can enroll in an online class for convenience. Taking an online course lets you learn at your own pace, right in the comfort of your own home.
5. There are Chances for Career Advancement
Your earning potential will increase for every year of experience that you earned. As already mentioned, your two-year associate’s degree already allows you to practice medical coding while you continue your education to get a four-year bachelor’s degree.
You can also take another route and take laddered certifications for medical coders, as some companies require specialized skills. In addition, as you become a seasoned medical coder, you may be considered for higher management positions in medical auditing, compliance, documentation, among others.
6. You Can Work Flexible Hours
If you want to work in the medical industry but have other obligations, you can choose to become a medical coder and work according to your schedule. This, however, depends on the type of employer that you have.
Part-time and full-time positions are being offered by several employers. Some agencies and institutions may require you to report for work within the required schedule, while some may allow you to work at your own convenience. For example, if you can’t commit to a 40-hour work per week, you may take a 4-hour per workday stint. In some instances, the hiring company may agree that you fulfill an 8-hour workday based on your convenient schedule.
7. You Can Work from Home
While medical coders may be required to report for work in most cases, some companies allow work from home setups out of necessity. Because the internal workforce can’t fully address the need for skilled workers, other companies have sought to find talents elsewhere. Hence, medical coding from home has become a better-accepted working arrangement for most employers.
You can therefore start earning as a medical coder with the required skills and experience, as well as a working computer and an internet connection.
8. You Can Work in Less Stressful Environments
Working from home as a medical coder allows you to control your own work environment. Without worrying about your colleague, you can turn the music to full volume while working, if that’s what you prefer. If your eyes hurt, rest your eyes take a quick nap on the couch.
An ideal working spot can fulfill an employee’s specific needs in order to work comfortably and more productively. A flexible working arrangement at home can also dramatically reduce the fears and stresses of worrying about getting infected with the coronavirus.
9. You’ll Become More Productive
Because you’ll get rid of lengthy commutes and non-work-related yet time-consuming activities, you’ll have more time to spend working on tasks that need to be done.
In a survey on remote workers, communications company Connect Solutions discovered that about 30% of those who participated said they can do more in less time. The same survey also cited that up to 77% work from home employees noticed increased productivity, as compared to working in an office.
The Bottom Line
Apart from skills and experience, a medical coder should be able to code accurately. An error-free data is critical in facilitating medical payments and reimbursements. To do this, a coder should be able to perform the duties well by creating an ideal working environment. Whether the coder needs to report in-office or work from home, the keys to productivity include being comfortable and flexible.
Jason is the Marketing Manager at a local advertising company in Australia. He moved to Australia 10 years back for his passion for advertising. Jason recently joined BFA as a volunteer writer and contributes by sharing his valuable experience and knowledge.