Medical billing and coding is a thriving job field and is expected to keep growing for the next several years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, medical billing and coding jobs are expected to increase by 21 percent between now and 2020. This represents almost double the average growth for all jobs in the United States over the next ten years.
Reasons for High Growth
One reason that medical billing and coding is expected to grow very quickly as a field is the fact that the medical industry in general is exploding as the baby boomers continue to age. Advances in medical technology are allowing people to live longer and more active lives, and this means that more people will require medical care than ever before.
Another reason for the tremendous growth of the medical billing and coding profession is the prevalence of private and public health insurance. All health insurance claims now require specific coding for payment, and the growth of Medicare, Medicaid, and all forms of private insurance coverage mean that many more claims are filed and many more people will be needed to fill the medical coding and billing jobs these claims create.
Finally, the move toward digitization of medical records means that more doctors and hospitals will require the services of medical billing and coding technicians to handle the increasing amounts of medical information necessary to put all records in digital form. The move toward the digital format for medical records is expected to increase in the future as more technology becomes available to make this task easier.
Medical Billing and Coding Job Changes
While only half of all current medical billers and coders have certification at the present time, this is expected to change. Certification will soon become a necessity in the increasing competitive job market, and employers will expect applicants to be certified prior to hiring. By 2020, most medical billers and coders will have certification, obtained by passing national examinations.
Another change in store for medical billers and coders is the increasing number of these professionals who will work remotely rather than in an office. While two-thirds of medical billers and coders currently work in an anchored location, the move toward telecommuting is growing as gas prices continue to soar and parking and highway congestion become real concerns.
By 2020, at least half and possibly two-thirds of medical billers and coders will work from remote locations, either in offices located outside major city hubs or from home. The prevalence of new software that allows medical billers and coders to work from home and quickly and effectively complete large batches of coding jobs means that the old office mentality is quickly fading and being replaced by an online workgroup format.
What Is Your Future?
To prepare for a future job in medical billing and coding, it is wise to keep the ongoing changes in mind. Be sure to secure certification in your field before seeking a job. You can do this by taking a nationally-recognized certification test and securing certification in CCS or CPC.
You should also prepare for your future career by considering both in-office and online positions. If you would like to work from home, the number of at-home telecommuting positions is poised to grow; however, you should be developing work-from-home skills to make yourself more marketable, such as an understanding of the specific software types used in these jobs and the organizational skills that allow you to get your job done while at home.