Our objective was to determine if physician beliefs about the benefits and risks of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) differ by physician gender or specialty in a managed care setting. In a cross-sectional survey of providers in a health maintenance organization in North Carolina, 105 gynecologists, internists, and family physicians and physician assistants were surveyed, and 74 providers completed and returned the survey (70.5% response rate). Providers' beliefs about the benefits and risks of HRT differed by specialty and gender of physician. Gynecologists are significantly less concerned about the potential risks of HRT on breast cancer (p = 0.004) and thromboembolic events (p = 0.005) compared with family physicians and internists. Female providers across the three specialty categories were significantly different from their male colleagues in their beliefs about the benefits of HRT with regard to the reduction in risk of heart disease (79% versus 64%, p = 0.001), osteoporosis (83% versus 75%, p = 0.045), and Alzheimer's disease (45% versus 26%, p = 0.026). There was a trend toward female physicians being more convinced about the risks of breast cancer than their male colleagues (p = 0.08). Our results suggest that providers in a managed care setting vary in their beliefs about the benefits and risks of HRT, and this may affect provider-patient discussions about HRT.