Medical Office Administration vs. Medical Insurance Billing and Coding Specialist
Explore the differences in duties, requirements, certifications, salaries, and career outlooks
Medical Office Administrators (MOAs) and Medical Insurance Billing and Coding (MIBC) Specialists can often be found working together in various healthcare office settings to provide their patients with the best care possible. While both positions are essential to the medical team and fill similar roles, they still have their own job responsibilities, day-to-day tasks, job outlook, and earning potential.
This guide will cover the differences between MOAs and MIBC specialists. If you’re interested in becoming an MOA or a MIBC but need more information, continue reading to learn about the key differences between these vital roles.
(Click here to learn how to become a Medical Office Administrator)
MOA vs. MIBC: Definition
What is a Medical Office Administrator?
Medical Office Administrators are multi-competent health professionals who play a vital role in managing data in a medical office. They are often referred to as Medical Records and Health Information Technicians.
What is a Medical Billing and Coding Specialist?
Medical Insurance Billing & Coding Specialists fill an essential role in the delivery of patient care. In addition to monitoring administered medical care, MIBC specialists also record and process patient data.
MOA vs. MIBC: Job Description
What Does a Medical Office Administrator Do?
Medical Office Administrators organize and manage health information data by ensuring that it maintains its quality, accuracy, accessibility, and security in both paper files and electronic systems.
They utilize several systems to code and categorize patient information for the following purposes:
- Insurance reimbursement
- Databases and registries, and
- Patient medical histories
What Does a Medical Billing and Coding Specialist Do?
Medical Insurance Billing and Coding Specialists are responsible for a number of tasks in the administrative realm of medical care. They process records, insurance plan information, and payment data. Perhaps most importantly, MIBC specialists code medical diagnoses to seek payment from each patient’s insurance provider.
Without a Medical Insurance Billing and Coding Specialist, some healthcare professionals would not be able to maintain the necessary income to continue treating patients.
MOA vs. MIBC: Duties & Responsibilities
Medical Office Administrator Responsibilities
Some of the day-to-day responsibilities of an MOA include:
- Performing opening and closing office procedures
- Managing medical records
- Creating electronic health records
- Assigning insurance codes for medical diagnoses and procedures
- Processing insurance claims
- Performing entry-level bookkeeping and accounting procedures
Medical Billing and Coding Specialist Responsibilities
Some of the day-to-day responsibilities of a MIBC specialist include:
- Overseeing electronic health records
- Ensuring HIPPA compliance in record keeping
- Using medical billing software to submit claims and request patient payment
- Managing medical billing systems
MOA vs. MIBC: Work Environments
Where Do Medical Office Administrators Work?
Many MOAs work in hospitals or the offices of physicians. Some of the largest employers of Medical Office Administrators are as follows:
- Offices of physicians
- Professional, scientific, and technical services
- Administrative and support services
- Nursing care facilities
Where Do Medical Billing and Coding Specialists Work?
In today’s age, many Medical Insurance Billing and Coding Specialists can work from home. Some of the largest employers of MIBC specialists are as follows:
- Physician offices
- Outpatient care facilities
- Insurance companies
MOA vs. MIBC: Requirements
Educational Requirements for Medical Office Administrators
In the U.S., most aspiring MOAs will require a postsecondary certificate. Depending on your location and employer, you may also need an associate degree. One thing is for certain, however. Certification is usually required. In addition, formal training may generally take anywhere from nine months to two years to complete, depending on whether it’s a certificate/diploma or degree program.
Option 1: Medical Office Administration Certification
More often than not, you must graduate from a Medical Office Administration certificate or diploma program. These programs usually require about a year of school and are offered by vocational schools or community colleges.
Medical office administration classes often cover topics like medical terminology, health data requirements and standards, classification and coding systems, and more.
Option 2: Associate Degree
Some schools offer an associate degree program for aspiring Medical Record Technicians. In these degree programs, general education courses are typically combined with Health Information Technology education. Most associate degree programs can be completed in about two years.
For associate-degree programs, the medical office administration courses are very similar to those in certificate/diploma programs.
Educational Requirements for Medical Billing and Coding Specialists
If you’d like to learn how to become a Medical Insurance Billing and Coding Specialist, the first step you’ll need to take is to enroll in a training program. Most programs can be completed in a year or less.
Bonus tip: High school students who want to become medical record technicians may better their odds by taking courses in health, computer science, math, and biology.
Like the path of an MOA, aspiring MIBC specialists will likely need to pursue certification as well. Some organizations that offer certification include the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) and the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).
Some certifications may require applicants to pass an exam. Others require graduation from an accredited educational program. In addition, some coding certifications may require coding experience in a work setting. Once certified, specialists usually must renew their certification on a regular basis and take continuing education courses.
MOA vs. MIBC: Salary
How Much Do MOAs Make?
According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual wage for Medical Office Administrators or Medical Records Specialists is about $48,000 per year or about $23 per hour. However, MOAs that earn salaries in the 90th percentile can make more than $73,000 per year.
How Much Do MIBC specialists Make?
According to the BLS, the average salary for Medical Insurance Billing and Coding Specialists is around $52,000 per year or about $26 per hour. However, MIBC specialists that earn salaries in the 90th percentile can make more than $105,000 per year.
MOA vs. MIBC: Job Outlook
MOA Job Outlook
According to the BLS, overall employment of MOAs will grow 9 percent by 2030. This rate is about as fast as the average for all occupations. The BLS also reports that about 34,300 openings for MOAs are projected each year. This growing need has been attributed to workers who retire or seek other opportunities.
MIBC Job Outlook
According to the BLS, overall employment of MIBC specialists is also expected to grow about 9 percent by 2030. Due to changes in insurance programs and the increasing need for electronic medical records, the BLS expects to see a surge of employment opportunities for Medical Insurance Billing and Coding Specialists.
Advancing Your Career as an MOA
As you can see, there are many similarities as well as a few differences between MOAs and MIBC specialists. While both are key members of the healthcare team, they can each fill unique roles. However, you can pursue your educational goals in as little as 9 months and become a Medical Office Administrator. This path would allow you to start a new career without spending years in school.
If you’re ready to take the next step, start by earning your MOA diploma in as little as 9 months at Unitek College.
Click here to learn more about our Medical Office Administration program. You can also visit out nursing programs or other healthcare programs.