Managing Your Practice

Mean income for ObGyns increased in 2012

A 2013 survey reveals that overall physician salaries increased from 2011, and obstetricians and gynecologists are no exception. ObGyns reported that the most rewarding part of the job was their relationships with patients.



ObGyns’ 2012 mean income was $242,000, up from a mean of $220,000 in 2011, although almost half (45%) of ObGyns reported their 2012 income to be the same as their 2011 income. In 2012, about 25% of ObGyns reported earnings of $300,000 or more, and 10% said they earn less than $100,000.1 The newest salary data are based on Medscape’s 2013 Compensation Report, a survey of 21,878 US physicians across 25 specialties.

Forty-three percent of ObGyns were satisfied with their 2012 compensation levels; 48% of all physicians were satisfied.1,2

Other Findings

Men still make more than women. In 2012, male ObGyns reported earning 14% more than female ObGyns. This pay gap is smaller for ObGyns than for all physicians, however; overall, male physicians earn 30% more than females. One contributing factor to the closer pay gap for ObGyns is that there are fewer women in the higher-paying specialties, such as orthopedics (only 9% of orthopedic respondents were female). Response rates also matter: of those who responded to the overall Medscape poll, 31% were female; of the ObGyn respondents, 43% were female.1,2

ObGyn compensation varies by region. Highest earnings were found in the South Central region (mean: $250,000 in 2012); lowest earnings were found in the Northeast (mean: $213,000).1

Work setting counts. When ranked by job setting, in 2012, ObGyns employed by health-care organizations were the top earners (mean income: $272,000). This figure rose considerably from the 2011 mean of $239,000. Additional mean earnings of ObGyns ranked by work setting in 2012 were1:

  • single-specialty (office-based) group practices: $264,000

  • multispecialty (office-based) group practices: $252,000

  • hospitals: $216,000

  • academic: $212,000

  • solo practices (office-based): $208,000

  • outpatient clinics: $206,000.

When ranked by work situation, partners beat all other situations at $268,000 (mean). Employed ObGyns earned more than owners of solo practices (mean: $241,000 vs $204,000, respectively). Independent contractors came in the lowest at $198,000 (mean).1

Satisfaction with career choice and practice setting showed a slight dip from 2011. When all physicians were asked if they would choose medicine again, 53% would do so in 2012, versus 55% in 2011. Among the ObGyns who said they would choose medicine again, 37% said they would choose the same specialty (the same as in 2011). In 2012, 18% of ObGyns said they would choose the same practice setting, compared with 23% in 2011.1,2

What’s most rewarding? In 2012, 42% of ObGyns ranked their relationships with patients as the most satisfying part of their job, compared with 31% of all physicians. While 34% of all physicians said that being good at the practice of medicine was their primary reward, 28% of ObGyns listed that first.1,2


Where does your income come from? In the 2011 report, only 4% of ObGyns either participated in or planned to join an accountable care organization (ACO). In 2012, that figure jumped to 25%. Only 1% of ObGyns opted for concierge medical practices in 2012 and 2011, and only 3% chose cash-only practices in 2012 and 2011.1,2

What about Medicare and Medicaid? More physicians were concerned with the potential for reduced Medicare reimbursement in 2012 than in 2011. The current report indicated that 15% of ObGyns plan to stop taking new Medicare or Medicaid patients, 3% plan to stop seeing current Medicare or Medicaid patients, and 28% are undecided. However, 53% of ObGyns are not conflicted and will continue to see current patients and take on new Medicare and Medicaid patients. In 2012, 59% of all physicians planned to treat new Medicare and Medicaid patients.1,2

What about insurance company payments? Practice management experts often recommend that physicians review their annual payments from insurers and drop those who pay the worst or create the most trouble. In 2012, 26% of ObGyns reported that they already do that or are planning to take that advice. However, 29% will keep all insurers because they feel that even poor payers still represent income. About 15% felt that dropping insurers was inappropriate behavior.1

Do you provide ancillary services? When asked if they would offer additional medical services to increase income, 21% of ObGyns said yes. Nineteen percent of all physicians said they had begun to do that.1,2

Do you discuss cost with your patients? In larger practices and hospital settings, treatment costs are often discussed by a staff member responsible for billing and payment, rather than by the physician. As physicians move toward these larger organizations, the trend is becoming more apparent1:

  • In 2011, 41% of ObGyns reported that they regularly discuss the cost of services with their patients; 48% said they occasionally discuss cost if the patient brings it up (89% total).

  • In 2012, 35% of ObGyns said they regularly discuss cost with their patients; 41% said they occasionally discuss cost (76% total).

In 2011, 84% of all physicians either regularly or occasionally discussed the cost of treatment with patients. In 2012, 68% of all physicians regularly discussed cost of treatment (30%) or did so if the patient asked (38%), and 6% reported that it was inappropriate to discuss cost with patients.1,2

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