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How Much Do Doctors Make After Taxes & Insurance?

how much doctors make after taxes and insurance

Doctors make more money than most people, but what about after Uncle Sam takes his slice of the pie? How much do they bring home make after taxes? And how much of it goes to protecting their assets with insurance? Prior to becoming a medical professional, you have a vested interest in learning exactly how much you might earn.

We’ll walk through how much doctors make before taxes, how much doctors pay in taxes as well as the insurance they typically pay and expenses. We’ll even go over how doctors might earn more money, if necessary. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll have a better idea of how much doctors make after taxes and insurance. The answers may surprise you!

How much do doctors make before taxes?

Annually, primary care physicians average $243,000, while specialists make around $346,000, according to the Medscape 2022 annual salary report. The top-earning specialty was plastic surgery at $576,000. The next four were orthopedics, cardiology, otolaryngology, and urology, in that order.

Over a lifetime, primary care physicians average around $8,505,000, while specialists average $12,110,000.

Related: How much do family doctors make?

How much do doctors pay in taxes?

Most states and the federal government use a “progressive” income tax rate, which means that as your taxable income increases, your tax rate also increases. The income tax category you fall into is often called a “tax bracket.” Most states impose income taxes the same way the federal government does, but some impose a “flat tax” — a single income tax rate to everyone, no matter how much you earn.

Let’s take a quick look at the definition of federal tax, Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes and calculate an example of what taxes might look like as a medical provider. 

Federal tax

The 2023 tax year will keep the same federal income tax brackets: 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, and 37%. For example, if you are single, the lowest tax rate of 10% is applied to the first $10,275 of your income. The next chunk of your income is then taxed at 12%, and so on, up to the top of your taxable income. Your filing status and taxable income, including wages, determine the bracket you’re in.

Let’s take a look at single, married filing jointly or qualifying widow or widower, married filing separately and head of household. The 2022 tax brackets and tax rates for filing in 2023 are: 

Single Filers
If taxable income is over: But not over: Your tax rate is:
$0 $10,275 10% of the amount over $0
$10,275 $41,775 $1,027.50 plus 12% of the amount over $10,275
$41,775 $89,075 $4,807.50 plus 22% of the amount over $41,775
$89,075 $170,050 $15,213.50 plus 24% of the amount over $89,075
$170,050 $215,950 $34,647.50 plus $32% of the amount over $170,050
$215,950 $539,900 $49,335.50 plus 35% of the amount over $215,950
$539,900 No limit $162,718 plus 37% of the amount over $539,900

 

Married Filing Jointly or Qualifying Widow (or Widower) Filers
If taxable income is over:  But not over: Your tax rate is:
$0 $20,550 10% of the amount over $0
$20,550 $83,550 $2,055 plus 12% of the amount over $20,550
$83,550 $178,150 $9,615 plus 22% of the amount over $83,550
$178,150 $340,100 $30,427 plus 24% of the amount over $178,150
$340,100 $431,900 $69,295 plus 32% of the amount over $340,100
$431,900 $647,850 $98,671 plus 35% of the amount over $431,900
$647,850 No limit $174,235.50 plus 37% of the amount over $647,850

 

Married Filing Separately Filers
If taxable income is over:  But not over: Your tax rate is:
$0 $10,275 10% of the amount over $0
$10,275 $41,775 $1,027.50 plus 12% of the amount over $10,275
$41,775 $89,075 $4,807.50 plus 22% of the amount over $41,775
$89,075 $170,050 $15,213.50 plus 24% of the amount over $89,075
$170,050 $215,950 $34,647.50 plus 32% of the amount over $170,050
$215,950 $323,925 $49,335.50 plus 35% of the amount over $215,950
$323,925 No limit $87,126.75 plus 37% of the amount over $323,925

 

Head of Household Filers
If taxable income is over: But not over:  Your tax rate is:
$0 $14,650 10% of the amount over $0
$14,650 $55,900 $1,465 plus 12% of the amount over $14,650
$55,900 $89,050 $5,415 plus 22% of the amount over $55,900
$89,050 $170,050 $13,708 plus 24% of the amount over $89,050
$170,050 $215,950 $33,148 plus 32% of the amount over $170,050
$215,950 $539,900 $47,836 plus 35% of the amount over $215,950
$539,900 No limit $161,218.50 plus 37% of the amount over $539,900

FICA taxes

FICA is a U.S. payroll tax deducted to fund the Social Security and Medicare programs. Here’s how the Social Security and Medicare taxes play out for employees and employers:

Employee Employer
Social Security tax 6.2% 6.2%
Medicare tax 1.45% 1.45%
Additional Medicare tax (on earnings over $200,000 (single filers) or $250,000 (joint filers) 0.9%
Total 7.45% to 8.55% 7.65%

Total

Let’s take a look at a sample total that a medical professional might pay in taxes, from pretax income to federal and FICA tax combined:

Primary Care Provider Specialist
Pre-tax income $243,000 $346,000
Federal tax $59,843 $95,893
FICA tax $12,448 $14,868
State tax $13,403 $19,325
Overall tax rate 35% 38%
Post-tax income $157,306 $215,914

 

How much do doctors pay for insurance?

Multiple factors contribute to high medical malpractice insurance costs but the major factor has to do with the fact that more insurers continue to experience losses from claims. Costs can vary by state, between $30,000 and $200,000 yearly.

Fourteen states reported insurance premium increases of 10% or more between 2019 and 2020, according to the American Medical Association, including:

  • Kentucky: 29.6%
  • South Carolina: 27.8%
  • Maryland: 18.8%
  • Nebraska: 16.7%
  • Oregon: 16.7%
  • Montana: 16.7%
  • Georgia: 14.8%
  • Missouri: 14.8%
  • New Hampshire: 13.3%
  • Illinois: 11.9%
  • Michigan: 11.6%
  • Texas: 9.2%
  • North Carolina: 6.7%
  • Virginia: 1.3%

Expenses of a doctor

In addition to taxes and insurance, doctors have some similar expenses compared to those in other professions. 

​​The average medical school debt among students attending a public school was $194,280, while those who attended a private college left school with an average medical school debt of $218,746. A total of 70% said they had education debt, with 27% of respondents with a total debt load of at least $300,000.

Doctors also have living expenses, transportation, and food like those in other professions.

Ways doctors can earn more money

If you want to earn more money as a physician, there are a few ways to make it happen. You can invest in a tax-protected retirement account, get a side gig, pay off debt so you have less interest to pay, and/or make lifestyle changes. The last one may be a big one because in many cases, the more money you make, the more you spend.

Consider consulting with a financial advisor and an accountant to make sure you’re maximizing your income and saving as much money as possible.