Female ObGyns continue to make less than their male counterparts, although the gap is narrower for those who are employed versus in private practice
The mean income for ObGyns rose by 2% in 2014 over 2013 to $249,000,1 according to the 2015 Medscape Compensation Report. This slight rise continues a gradual increase over the past few years ($242,000 in 2012; $220,000 in 2011).1–4 The 2015 Report took into account survey responses from 19,657 physicians across 26 specialties, 5% (982) of whom were ObGyns.
The highest earners among all physician specialties were orthopedists ($421,000), cardiologists, and gastroenterologists. The lowest earners were pediatricians, family physicians, and endocrinologists and internists ($196,000).The highest ObGyn earners lived in the Northwest ($289,000) and Great Lakes ($268,000) regions; the lowest earners lived in the Mid-Atlantic ($230,000) and Northeast ($235,000) areas.1
Career satisfaction for ObGyns is dipping
In 2011, 69%, 53%, and 48% of ObGyns indicated they would choose a career in medicine again, select the same specialty, and pick the same practice setting, respectively. In the 2015 survey, 67% of ObGyns reported that they would still choose medicine; however, only 40% would pick obstetrics and gynecology as their specialty, and only 22% would select the same practice setting.1
Employment over private practice: Who feels best compensated?
Overall, 63% of all physicians are now employed, with only 23% reporting to be in private practice. Employment appears to be more popular for women: 59% of men and 72% of women responded that they work for a salary. Slightly more than a third (36%) of men and about a quarter (23%) of women are self-employed.5The gender picture. Half of all ObGyns are women, and almost half of medical school graduates are women, yet male ObGyns continue to make more money than their female counterparts.1,5,6 The 9% difference between compensation rates for self-employed male and female ObGyns ($265,000 vs $242,000, respectively) is less than the 14% between their employed colleagues ($266,000 vs $229,000, respectively).1 Women tend to work shorter hours, fewer weeks, and see fewer patients than men, which could account for the lower compensation rate for female ObGyns. Studies suggest that greater schedule flexibility and fewer hours are key factors that improve satisfaction rates for female physicians.5
Male and female ObGyns tend to agree on their income satisfaction: less than half are satisfied (male, 44%; female, 46%). Many more employed ObGyns (55%) believe that they are fairly compensated than self-employed ObGyns (31%).1
Which practice settings pay better?
Compensation rates for ObGyns in 2015 are greatest for those in office-based multispecialty group practice ($280,000), followed by those who work in1:
- health care organizations ($269,000)
- office-based single-specialty group practices ($266,000)
- outpatient clinics ($223,000)
- academic settings (nonhospital)
- research, military, and government ($219,000).
The lowest paid practice settings are office-based solo practices ($218,000) and hospital-employed ObGyns ($209,000). In 2013, ObGyns who earned the most worked for health care organizations ($273,000); those who earned the least worked for outpatient clinics ($207,000).1
Do you take insurance, Medicare, Medicaid?
More employed (82%) than self-employed (53%) ObGyns will continue to take new and current Medicare or Medicaid patients, which is a rise from data published in the 2014 report (employed, 72%; self-employed, 46%).1
More than half (58%) of all physicians received less than $100 from private insurers for a new-patient office visit in 2014. Among ObGyns, 26% said they would drop insurers that pay poorly; 29% replied that they would not drop an insurer because they need all payers.1
The rate of participation in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) has increased from 25% in 2013 to 35% in 2014, with 8% more expecting to join an ACO in 2015. Concierge practice (2%) and cash-only practice (5%) were reportedly not significant payment models for ObGyns in 2014.1
Only 26% of ObGyns are planning to participate in health insurance exchanges; 23% said they are not participating, and 51% are not sure whether they will participate. Close to half (41%) of ObGyns believe their income will decrease because of health insurance exchanges, whereas 54% do not anticipate a change in income.1
Do you offer ancillary services?
When asked, 11% of employed ObGyns and 28% of self-employed ObGyns revealed that they have offered new ancillary services within the past 3 years. These ancillary services can include mammography, bone density testing, ultrasound, in-house laboratory services, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, and weight management.1
How much time do you spend with patients?
In 2014, 62% of ObGyns reported spending 9 to 16 minutes with a patient during a visit. This is compared to 56% of family physicians and 44% of internists (TABLE).1,5