Medical students are reportedly choosing not to specialize in gynecology due to the high cost of malpractice insurance. Litigation has caused the insurance premiums to rise, which has led to many OBGYN leaving their practice. In the meantime, the number of positions is expected to grow faster than average between now and 2014 due to population growth. This had led to fewer health care options in many states for women. As a result, the average salary for practicing gynecologists is expected to raise considerably and the job outlook is expected to be be strong.
The American Medical Association reported in 1995 that about 5.5% of people held jobs as obstetricians and gynecologists that worked in hospitals and clinics in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment opportunities for physicians that specialize in obstetrics or gynecology are expected to grow by about 14% through 2016. OBGYNs will find more job openings in rural or underserved urban areas. OBGYNs earned an average annual salary of $195,580 to $284,000 in 2008, according to Salary.com.
As our population ages and the need for health care grows the current physician shortage in the US is expected to intensify. Several factors are impacting this problem, the shrinking economy, the aging population and finally the impending health care "reform".
American Academy of Family Physicians suggests there will be a shortage of 40,000 primary care doctors (Family Practice jobs, Internal Medicine jobs, Pediatric jobs and OB/GYN) by 2020. Added to this shortage is the fact that the number of medical students choosing primary care as a profession has already dropped by 51.8% since 1997, and that currently only 2% of medical school graduates choose primary care as a career. The drop in interest in primary care is likely a response to the significantly higher salaries that sub specialists like Radiologists, Cardiologists and many others command.
The US population is aging. From 2010 and 2035, all age groups 70 and above will increase over 95%. Although for most other specialties this means there will be a greater demand for all health care services, this
will be less so the case for that care of pregnancy and birth. However, all other aspects of OB/GYN can expect to see a growth in demand. Further, it is estimated that as many as one-third of today's older practicing physicians will retire by 2020.
Stock Market Decline
The recent stock market decline has impacted older physicians' decisions. Some physicians are postponing retirement because of the economy's impact on their retirement savings. But even a three- to five-year delay won't address the impending loss of experienced physicians.
Health Insurance Reform
The final uncertainty is the outcome of national health reform. If the reform actually works in increasing the enrollment into health care insurance programs then when combined with the long term the aging population and these increased numbers should push demand for services and therefore cost higher. However, no one yet knows what will happen to reimbursement rates from Medicare and this new program. The question is will there be rate a cut of reimbursement rates for different procedures by Medicare and this new program that may ultimately decrease the income of all specialties.