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September 11, 2019

How older (and younger) physicians are paid, charted

Daily Briefing

    Medscape recently released its 2019 Young Physician Compensation Report, which shows how much doctors are paid at different ages as well as the changing demographics of the physician workforce.

    Report: How to engage physicians in conversations about pay

    Report details

    For the report, Medscape surveyed 19,328 physicians across more than 30 specialties from Oct. 25, 2018, to Feb. 14, 2019. Medscape modeled and estimated physician salaries based on a range of variables—including age, gender, geographic location, and survey year—using five years of survey data rather than using self-reported 2018 salaries. Medscape weighted survey responses based on the American Medical Association's physician distribution.

    Older physicians are paid more than younger physicians

    Medscape found that primary care physicians and specialists between the ages of 40 to 69 are paid on average about $60,000 more annually than primary care physicians and specialists under the age of 40. According to Medscape, older primary care physicians are paid $253,000 annually, while younger primary care physicians are paid $193,000 annually. Meanwhile, older specialists are paid about $358,000 annually, while younger specialists are paid $294,000 annually:

    Travis Singleton, EVP of Merritt Hawkins, a physician recruitment firm, said physicians experience a ramp-up period before they reach their "peak earning potential." However, Singleton noted that while the ramp-up period has become shorter in recent years it is difficult to predict when physicians will see their salaries increase.

    According to Medscape salaries for physicians of all ages have increased since 2015. For example, the average primary care physician salary increased by 21.5% from $195,000 to $237,000, according to Medscape data. The average salary for specialists increased from $284,000 to $341,000 during that same time period, Medscape reports.

    According to the new report, older physicians are more likely to be self-employed than younger physicians. Medscape found 34% of older physicians are self-employed, compared to 16% of younger physicians, and 60% of older physicians are employed, compared to 79% of younger physicians.

    Younger physicians more diverse than older physicians

    Medscape also found younger physicians are more diverse than older physicians. For example, Medscape found 45% of younger physicians are women, compared to 34% of older physicians:

    In addition, Medscape found younger physicians are less likely to be white than older physicians:

    (Rappleye, Becker's Hospital Review, 9/5; Martin, Medscape, 9/4). 

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