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Medscape: Half of Physicians Have a Net Worth of Less Than $1M

By Jack O'Brien  
   June 25, 2020

A new report from Medscape indicated that the dynamic may change due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Half of physicians have a net worth of less than $1 million and more than 90% live well within their means, according to the Medscape Physician Debt and Net Worth Report released Wednesday.

Just over 40% of physicians have a net worth between $1 million to $5 million while less than 10% have a net worth exceeding $5 million. The Medscape report indicated that the dynamic may change due to the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Asked about spending patterns, 93% of physicians stated that they live at or below their means, with only 7% indicating that they live above their means.

Related: Physicians Pursue Several Strategies to Retire Heavy Student Debt Load

The three specialties with the highest average income are orthopedics, plastic surgery, and gastroenterology, though these areas are also increasingly vulnerable to the effects of the outbreak since most of the income is derived from elective surgeries. Meanwhile, the three specialties with the lowest average income are family medicine, pediatrics, and neurology.

A gender gap still exists in physician net worth, the report found, with 61% of female physicians responding that they have a net worth of less than $1 million compared to 44% of their male counterparts. Similarly, 46% of male physicians reported having a net worth between $1 million to $5 million and 10% having a net worth exceeding $5 million, surpassing the responses from female physicians in both categories. 

In addition to the insights on physician net worth, Medscape analyzed the most significant expenses and debts currently facing physicians.

More than 60% answered that they are paying the mortgage on a primary residence, with nearly 40% responding car loan payments, and over a quarter pointing to college or medical school loans. 

Though most physicians have not experienced a significant financial loss in the past year, those that did pointed to investment-related losses as a result of the economic downturn spurred by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Related: New York Extends Pause on Collection of Medical Loan Debt

The report was released a month after Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) unveiled its 31st annual Provider Compensation and Production Report which found that physician compensation rose for those in the primary care and specialty spaces last year.

Related: MGMA: Physician Compensation Grew in 2019

In mid-May, Medscape issued a report on physician compensation in the COVID-19 era that found that patient volumes have declined by 60% since early March and one-in-10 physician practices have closed because of the pandemic.

Related: Physician Compensation Rose Again But COVID-19 Expected to 'Dramatically Alter Landscape'

Jack O'Brien is the finance editor at HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

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