Hoosier doctors among the nation’s highest paid

Indiana may rank among the worst states for obesity, smoking, physical activity, air pollution, annual immunizations, preventable hospitalizations and public health funding. But there’s one area where it can claim bragging rights: physician compensation.

Doctors in Indiana earn an average of $337,000 a year, ranking them fourth in the nation, according to the annual survey by Medscape, a website for doctors and health professionals, released Monday.

You might think that wealthy states, such as New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and California would be in the top five. But those states are nowhere near the top.

The top five, in descending order, are Alabama, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Indiana and Missouri.

The figures were compiled from an online survey of 17,903 physicians across 29 specialties, and that data was collected between October 2020 and February 2021. The sampling error is plus or minus 0.73%.

The figures, all in the $300,000 range for the top five states, are higher than the salaries reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which says Indiana physicians earn an average salary of $260,000.

The BLS also ranked Indiana a little lower, in seventh place, behind Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Alaska, Hawaii and Maine.

The high compensation might seem incongruous with Indiana’s constant low ranking in healthy behavior and outcomes, according to America’s Health Rankings, published annually by the United Health Foundation.

Those rankings show Indiana near the bottom in many critical areas, such as obesity and smoking.

But health professionals point out that most of a person’s health is determined by non-medical factors, such as personal behavior, genetics, social and economic factors, and the physical environment. They say clinical care accounts for 20% or less of a person’s health.

So which medical specialties pay the best? According to Medscape, here’s a national breakdown of the 10 best-paying:

  1. Plastic surgery: $526,000
  1. Orthopedics: $511,000
  1. Cardiology: $459,000
  1. Urology: $427,000
  1. Otolaryngology: $417,000
  1. Radiology: $413,000
  1. Gastroenterology: $406,000
  1. Oncology: $403,000
  1. Dermatology: $394,000
  1. Ophthalmology: $379,000.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

5 thoughts on “Hoosier doctors among the nation’s highest paid

  1. Do you have any data on salaries paid to all healthcare administrators vs those paid for those actually doing the healthcare i.e. doctors and nurses?

  2. I’d like to see IBJ compile a list of doctor’s salaries by name. They are famous for their “lists” and there’s no reason patients shouldn’t know how much doctors make, like we know how much university teachers and public servants make.