Doctor shortage has starting physicians earning more

The physicians shortage has doctors making money hand over fist, including those who are fresh out of medical school.

Talk to your doctors and they'll tell you that the most rewarding aspect of their line of work is the privilege of being able to treat patients who are in need. However, with the typical physician earning a six-figure salary, there's no denying that compensation is a handsome reward as well.

Based on a recent survey, when it comes to getting paid, there's never been a better time to be in the health care industry, paving the way for more high net worth clientele.

Starting pay for family medicine up 13 percent
As with most industries, physicians' incomes are largely based on what they specialize in and their experience. Due to a shortage of doctors, though, starting salaries are at record highs,

"Starting pay rates for physicians have risen by double-digit figures."

According to a recent report released by Merritt Hawkins, wages for beginner family medicine physicians are up 13 percent from last year to $225,000. For psychiatry, starting pay is $250,000, an 11 percent uptick from year-ago levels. Among obstetricians, they're making $321,000 per year fresh out of medical school, a 16 percent year-over-year increase.

Travis Singleton, senior vice president for the Dallas, Texas-based physician search firm, indicated that demand hasn't been this robust in nearly 30 years.

"The expansion of health insurance coverage, population growth, population aging, expanded care sites such as urgent care centers and other factors are driving demand for doctors through the roof, and salaries are spiking as a consequence," Singleton said.

Not only are starting salaries for physicians on the rise, but so are performance-based incentives, where doctors are able to earn more depending on patient outcomes and satisfaction. The Merritt Hawkins poll found that of the doctor's offices offering bonus pay to staff, nearly one-third were contingent upon so called value-based metrics.

Almost across the board, physician compensation has risen over the past year. Save for allergy and pulmonology specialists, most are making more in 2016 than they were last year, including rheumatologists and internists up 12 percent, nephrologists and dermatologists up 11 percent and oncologists and cardiologists up 8 percent, according to a separate report from Medscape.

"North Dakota-based physicians earn the highest average salary in the U.S."

North-Central physicians with highest annual pay
So, how does this affect you as an agent? Prime candidates for Leveraged Planning® Solutions are high net worth clients, such as physicians. The target market among individuals are people earning an income of at least $250,000, with investable assets of $1 million or more. Approximately 1 million Americans have a net worth of at least $5 million. With more physicians entering the pipeline, that's bound to increase. Where doctors are located geographically also plays a part in what they're earning. The highest earners practice in the North Central, according to Medscape's Physician Compensation Report, averaging an annual salary of $296,000. Doctors in the Southeast make $287,000 per year, the second-highest average by region. And as far as states go, physicians in North Dakota have the largest annual incomes at an average of $348,000, with New Hampshire, Nebraska, Alaska and Montana rounding out the top five.

For more information on Leveraged Planning® Solutions and why you should include it in your product offerings, speak with a Global Financial Distributors advisor.

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