Change in the U.S. health care system: effects on physician retirement and implications for health care managers

J Health Hum Serv Adm. Winter 2002;25(3):342-70.


Several authors have postulated that managed care and other related changes in the U.S. health care system, perceived negatively by mature physicians, may contribute to their early retirement. This, in turn, may produce adverse effects on the availability of medical care. The authors investigate this and other related issues through analysis of a unique data set obtained from a survey of nearly four thousand physicians that elicited responses to numerous factors potentially relevant to their retirement decisions. The empirical analysis reveals that, while managed care is an important factor in the retirement decision of physicians, it does not necessarily lead to earlier retirement. Physicians rank other factors, related to financial and personal issues, as more important in their retirement decisions and the authors find that several of these factors significantly impact their expected retirement age. The results have several implications for health care managers relating to the retention or retirement of practicing physicians, successful planning, and seamless generation of income.

MeSH terms

  • Decision Making
  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Leisure Activities / psychology
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Managed Care Programs*
  • Middle Aged
  • Physicians / economics
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Retirement / economics
  • Retirement / psychology*
  • United States