There is a difference between medical billing and medical coding, although they have similar functions. There are actually many differences between these two activities that anyone in the medical field should recognize.

Medical billing and medical coding both cover a lot of information. Both processes begin with patient registration and end with payment, but there are some key differences between the two activities.

A Different Skill Set

Medical coders interpret care into codes. Different codes are used to make it easier for insurance companies to pay for care. For example, there is the ICD-10 coding system and the CPT coding system. The coder reads the treatment report, then interprets the care into codes that the insurance company will recognize.

The medical biller is the party that takes the interpreted codes and submits them to the insurance company for payment. It is the responsibility of the medical biller to ensure the delivery of the coded bills to the right party. A medical biller is also responsible for addressing billing questions, and helping both insurance companies and patients navigate the billing process.

Front Office, Back Office

Medical billers work directly with patients to explain medical billing and coverage. Medical coders typically work in the back office and do not have contact with patients nor the insurance company unless there is a coding error.


Medical coding is more reliant on the institution for direction than the medical billing expert. Medical billing is a more autonomous position. Coding requires input from other parties and institutions, while billing just requires input from the coder.

Each Process Relies on the Other

There is a lot of confusion when it comes to medical billing and medical coding because the two processes are heavily intertwined. Neither activity can be successful without the other activities’ participation.

Coding and billing are not the only differences you will find in billing. Billing can also be divided into subcategories; institutional billing and professional service billing. There is a lot to learn about medical practices and billing.

The right support for all your billing needs can help to educate you, and clear up some of the confusion. Learn more about coding and billing from a trusted expert source in both.