And sadly, this is true for even the best physicians; unfortunately, some patients or family members find bringing a claim an easy way to lay blame for an undesirable outcome. Thus, a lawsuit is always a risk, even if there’s no obvious mistake or error at the root of the issue.
For many years, malpractice insurance was so exorbitantly expensive that many physicians felt it really wasn’t worth the high cost; they were willing to “go bare”, or run the risk of practicing medicine without insurance. Luckily, both the frequency and cost of malpractice lawsuits has declined recently due to a combination of tort reform in many states and improvements in medical technology. This decline has, in turn, decreased and stabilized the medical malpractice insurance market. So the risk/benefit calculation today is in the physician’s favor.
So, is medical malpractice insurance worth the price? The short answer is yes, it is! Here are eight simple but compelling reasons why medical malpractice insurance is “worth it”:
- Many health insurance networks require it for the physicians in their network.
- Many hospitals require it of any physicians seeking visiting privileges.
- It protects both your professional and your personal finances.
- It covers all legal fees and costs, even if a claim is settled or dropped.
- It covers legal fees and other items not be included in your employer’s insurance.
- It may protect you against a lawsuit or claim filed against you during a previous employment.
- It covers lost wages in case you cannot practice while fighting a lawsuit.
- It offers you peace of mind!
To sum up, therefore, most physicians will likely face a lawsuit at some point or another in their professional career and it only takes one lawsuit—merited or not—to threaten your personal, professional, and financial security. In other words, medical malpractice insurance can ensure that a lawsuit is not financially and professionally disastrous.
What Does Malpractice Insurance Cost?
As noted above, malpractice insurance today is not nearly as expensive as most people think. That being said, specific rates for medical malpractice insurance are highly variable and depend upon a number of distinct factors relating to each individual medical practitioner. And as with all insurance plans, the key to finding the best coverage at the best price is to shop around. That’s where an independent insurance agency like Sungate Insurance Agency comes in! As experts in the medical malpractice industry, we know the insurance market in your area and the most reputable insurance companies. We can help you compare insurance quotes from a variety of different insurance providers, ensuring that you get the best available rate.
Speaking generally, medical malpractice rates are determined by three specific issues:
- Specialty: Your medical specialty is, by far, the single biggest determining factor in malpractice insurance rates. Unfortunately, medical specialists are more likely to face a lawsuit than general practitioners. Some specialties are considered “high risk”, including emergency medicine, surgery, and cardiology, while the “highest risk” specialties are obstetricians and gynecologists. These and other “high risk” specialties will pay more for malpractice insurance.
- Location: Where your medical practice is located also plays a fairly significant role in the cost of medical malpractice insurance. Malpractice insurance rates in Florida are, in general, much lower than in other states along the East and West Coasts. There also seems to be a small correlation between insurance rates and states that have undergone tort reform and implemented caps on payout.
- Coverage: As with most types of insurance, the type and amount of coverage your policy includes will impact your rate. For example, policies with extended “tails” (enabling you to cover a claim made against you while under a different insurance policy) will be more expensive than a policy without a “tail”. Likewise, policies with higher “per occurrence” and “overall aggregate” limits will be more expensive as well.
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