Montana Rural Physician Incentive Program (MRPIP)
Benefits and Obligations
The MRPIP program offers medical education loan repayment assistance to approved physicians who practice in rural or medically underserved areas of the state or who specifically serve underserved populations. The maximum amount of debt repayment a full-time physician may receive is $150,000 over a 5-year period of verified medical service. Proportionately reduced repayment amounts are available for physicians who practice less than full-time. The maximum eligibility period is five years; awards are not retroactive. Physicians participating in a federal or Indian Health Service (IHS) loan repayment program or while completing a federal or IHS practice obligation are not eligible for MRPIP participation until the federal or IHS program obligation has been fulfilled.
MRPIP loan repayment disbursements are paid directly to the participants’ lender or loan servicer and are distributed in six-month intervals based on a graduated payment schedule over the five years. Eligibility for each disbursement requires completion of the full, consecutive, six-month practice period. The typical graduated payment schedule for a full-time physician is as follows:
|Sample Graduated Loan Repayment Schedule|
|$10,000— 6 mos. of service||$15,000—36 mos. of service|
|$10,000—12 mos. of service||$17,500—42 mos. of service|
|$12,500—18 mos. of service||$17,500—48 mos. of service|
|$12,500—24 mos. of service||$20,000—54 mos. of service|
|$15,000—30 mos. of service||$20,000—60 mos. of service|
Federal loan repayment assistance may also be available under the National Health Services Corps (NHSC). All MRPIP candidates are expected to apply for such benefits if their practice area/location qualifies. State, federal, IHS, and employee loan repayment benefits cannot be received concurrently; only qualified medical education debt this is not eligible for repayment under a federal loan repayment program is eligible for MRPIP repayment. In the event MRPIP participants are selected for NHSC or IHS loan repayment, MRPIP repayment will be postponed during the federal program participation, and will resumed following completion for any remaining MRPIP eligibility.
If an applicant/participant is currently receiving employer/supporting institution loan repayment benefits, an individual can qualify to receive MRPIP loan repayment concurrently at an adjusted award amount. For example, if a participant receives $100,000 from their employer/supporting institution for loan repayment and their total outstanding debt amount is $120,000, they will be eligible for the difference, approximately $20,000 in MRPIP funding depending on accrued interest amounts over the approved contract period.
Alternatively if an individual has a high amount of outstanding debt, they could defer applying to MRPIP until they have fully exhausted their employer/supporting institution loan repayment benefit, and then apply to MRPIP for the full award amount of $150,000. The stipulation is that MRPIP loan repayment and other forms of loan repayment cannot be received concurrently to receive the maximum award amount of $150,000.