Something most physicians face right after training is a student loan burden. Student loans—often amounting to a figure north of $100,000 for physicians finishing their training—is a stressor. It’s generally something that undergraduates give considerable thought to before they even start medical school.
Thus, it’s a relief when employers offer loan repayment as part of their physician employment contracts. As you evaluate your job offers, you’ll want to know the ins-and-outs of what to look for in a loan repayment agreement.
First, some employers categorically don’t offer loan repayment. It’s not a given that an employer will offer loan repayment, so if this is an important item for you, make sure that you talk about it with the physician recruiter who has been guiding you through the hiring process.
Meanwhile, other employers recognize that loan repayment is appealing to candidates and they offer loan repayment plans to attract top talent. If you are considering an opportunity with an employer who offers loan repayment plans, you will want to ask some specific questions to understand what they will contribute and what the terms are.
Over what period of time will the loan will be paid?
What is the aggregate amount that the employer will be willing to provide for the loan repayment?
What “triggers” exist for those loan payments to be made? Will the loan be repaid on a monthly basis? Quarterly? Annually?
Sometimes employers will stipulate that physicians must work for the organization for a year, and the employer will retroactively pay for that year’s loan payments, sending money directly to the loan company. This may be an annual procedure: work for a year, and your employer pays for your loans at the close of the contract year. Whatever the arrangement, employer student loan repayment translates to significant value for physicians outside of their annual salary. (LINK TO BRUCE ARMON- PERKS ARTICLE).
To learn more about employer-sponsored student loan repayment, and other elements of a “home-run” employment contract, watch this video interview with attorney Bruce Armon. Armon specializes in health care law, specifically employment contracts for both physicians and health care employers.