What Is Malpractice Insurance?

Malpractice insurance is bought by healthcare professionals to protect themselves from lawsuits filed by patients who claim they were harmed due to negligence or intentional harm. It also covers patient deaths. – What Is Malpractice Insurance?

Learn more about it

It’s essential for most doctors due to the high risk of medical errors. According to a study by Johns Hopkins University, medical errors rank as the third leading cause of death in the United States, following heart disease and cancer. Errors can occur during diagnosis, treatment, or post-illness care advice, resulting in around 250,000 deaths annually in the U.S.

Government data shows that around 10,800 medical malpractice claims were paid in 2022. About 33% of doctors say they have been sued at least once in their careers. This highlights the need for healthcare professionals to have malpractice insurance.

Different states have different requirements for medical malpractice insurance. In certain states, insurance is mandatory, while in others, there is a minimum coverage requirement to be eligible for state programs that provide assistance with claims.

Medical malpractice insurance premiums are typically determined by the type of medical practice and where it is located, rather than the number of claims filed against the physician. This implies that even if a physician has never faced a lawsuit, they may still have to pay significantly high premiums. The premiums can be influenced by various factors such as the level of coverage required, the seriousness and frequency of claims, the practice’s location, and the local laws.

Types of Malpractice Insurance

There are several ways to get it. One option is to buy an insurance policy from a private insurer for an individual or a group. Another option is to get a policy from a medical risk retention group (RRG), which is a group of medical professionals who provide malpractice insurance. You can also get malpractice insurance through your employer, like a hospital.

Employees at federal health centers are not required to get malpractice insurance because they are protected by federal law from civil lawsuits. In some cases, insurance can be acquired from state or local agencies if needed.

Healthcare professionals can choose between a claims-made policy or an occurrence policy. A claims-made policy covers claims only if the policy was active during the treatment and when the lawsuit was filed. An occurrence policy covers claims for treatments that happened while the policy was active, even if it has expired.

A malpractice policy covers various types of costs. These costs include legal fees, such as lawyer fees, settlement and arbitration costs, medical damages, and punitive damages.