How does the increased cost of malpractice insurance affect you? Doctors-to-be, are you concerned about the rising rates of malpractice insurance? What affect is it having upon the delivery of medicine?
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As an ob/gyn in practice for 13 years, this is a hot topic and a sore one. My current malpractice carrier is a secondary market carrier, because I practice in a high liability field and area, and have the misfortune of having partners covered by other companies, a previous company who is dropping everyone but still charging tail insurance and a history of settlements (2 small, 1 large) which were advised at the time by my attorneys. So now, I am in a position of trying to decide if I can afford to keep practicing my chosen field, need to switch to gyn only or retire early (not an option with three schoolage kids and a househusband).
E.g. my initial premium when I joined my current practice 4 years ago as an "experienced" OB/GYN
(read, more possible suits pending) was$ 37,000 a year. Now, I am paying $22,000 a year for 3 years for "tail insurance" for prior events, and $97,000 for my regular insurance. I had one suit pending last year which was dismissed by the judge after a request for a summary judgement, but because that was pending, my rates were higher and will stay that way for a couple of years, at best. This is for a "nuisance" suit, accoring to attorneys, with no chance of her winning in court, but it heavily impacted my ability to get insurance. So, in our HMO-dense area, I am paying over three times more for insurance, but cannot charge or collect more for my expenses. That means I get to pay over half of my gross pay to insurance companies, another 35% in taxes, and struggle to support my family on the remaining 15%!!! And doctors are supposed to be making a good living. I wouldn't be able to do it at all except for my husband's father's recent death and using his inheritance to pay insurance! Many obstetricians are giving up practice, and this is why!
Oh, yeah, and this is in California, as state that has tort reform, and is supposed to be a model for the rest of the country!
(Sorry but my log-in name is not working so I am typing unregstered.)
Just what the above poster said is one of the reasons I am scared to become a physician
I think it is absolutly disgusting to see malpractice insurance go so high that MDs are having to quit there jobs. Here in the paper I have read about MDs quitting and going into another career's because of malpractice insurance!
I mean you have to make money to live so what is the point of going through med school with a sh*tload of debt to barely get by in the end?
I'm really surprised I don't hear more of the pre-meds and med students discussing this more. For me it makes me re-think busting my butt to get into med school.
Great post topic IMO. I really am interested in reading others replies on this topic.
Before you consider hanging up your scrubs. You might want to check out alternate locations as insurance rates vary greatly around the nation. Some of the bigger metro areas also are host to some of the fastest growing insurance premiums. It maybe lame to live out of the way but it can mean a lower cost of living and a bigger paycheck in the end.
A couple summers ago my boyfriend worked for an OB/GYN in Washington state who ended up quitting his practice because of the obscene cost of insurance. It's so sad to see that happen to someone who has given his life to his career. I believe he ended up looking into becoming a military doc?
I think we need some serious legal reform in the States (I'm in Canada now, but am American).
Increased malpracice costs don't affect me directly ( primary care, rural areas, lower premiums , and I am always covered by the ins the employer buys...) but INDIRECTLY I am sure it is not helping me to get a raise !