Paying down medical student-loan debt and saving for retirement are often competing priorities for residents, fellows and young physicians. AMA-supported bipartisan legislation that passed the U.S. House of Representatives, however, aims to help people squeezed between paying off student loans and saving for their golden years.

Under provisions in the “Securing a Strong Retirement Act” (H.R. 2954), graduates who cannot afford to contribute to their employer-sponsored retirement plan would no longer be forced to forego the important employer match for retirement contributions. The bill, passed by an overwhelming 414–5 margin in the House, has moved to the Senate.

The “Securing a Strong Retirement Act” permits retirement plans such as employer-sponsored 401(k) plans to make matching contributions to workers as if their student-loan payments were retirement-plan contributions. Qualified student-loan payments are broadly defined under the legislation as any indebtedness incurred by the employee solely to pay qualified higher education expenses of the employee.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, 73% of medical students graduated with an average of about $200,000 in student-loan debt, meaning that paying down that debt is often the top financial priority for younger physicians. This can be particularly burdensome during residency training, when salaries are considerably lower than those of physicians who have completed their graduate-level training.

The bill has been a priority for the AMA during this legislative session.

Read the Full AMA Story Here.

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