Doctors and others working in the healthcare industry make mistakes. Maybe an incision is a few millimeters in one direction. Or perhaps a prescription drug introduced to an individual by a doctor has a different reaction than expected. Even though surgeons are highly skilled at their craft, not every surgery goes according to plan.
Doctors are humans and bound to make mistakes. However, for those in the medical industry, a minor error can result in a significant issue for the individual affected. Sometimes for a lifetime.
Lawsuits stem from major issues, and they are often costly for doctors and other medical practitioners. One mistake can cost a physician their license to practice medicine.
One way medical professionals can protect their businesses and families from these lawsuits is through Medical Malpractice Insurance. Without this policy, doctors have gaps in their coverage. Furthermore, they are not allowed to practice in the United States without it.
What is Medical Malpractice Insurance?
Medical Malpractice Insurance, also known as Medical Professional Liability Insurance, is a type of liability coverage designed to protect physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other hospital employees working in the healthcare industry.
This liability coverage offers protection when wrongful practices result in bodily injury, property damage, and medical expenses.
For example, a woman went into the hospital with severe abdominal pain. The doctor told her she needed an emergency surgery to remove her appendix. A week later, she continued to have pain. X-rays revealed a metal object near her stomach. She had a second surgery to remove a scalpel the first surgeon left in her. She sued the doctor and hospital and was awarded a large settlement.
Luckily, the surgeon and hospital had Medical Malpractice Insurance, so they were not responsible for paying out of pocket.
Who Needs Medical Malpractice Insurance?
Anyone who works in a professional capacity in any U. S. medical industry must have medical malpractice coverage. Professions who require this coverage include:
What Does Medical Malpractice Insurance Cover?
The majority of medical malpractice policies offer liability coverage to medical personnel when they are found negligent while doing their job. As an added benefit to this multifaceted insurance coverage, it can even help medical personnel secure a lawyer to help them fight the case in court. This coverage also includes:
- Court costs and fees
- Settlement costs
- Medical damages
- Punitive damages
There are two types of Medical Malpractice Insurance policies:
- Claims Made: This medical malpractice coverage only offers protection while the policy is in effect. This means that it must be in effect when the accident occurred and the lawsuit filed. If not, the coverage will not kick in. Because many medical lawsuits do not happen until much later, it is easy to see how this can be problematic. Occasionally, a "tail" policy will be added to extend the coverage.
- Occurrence Made: This coverage offers protection for any event that happened during a period of coverage, even if the policy had lapsed when the claim is filed. Most medical personnel prefer these policies because they offer better protection, but they are not available in all states.
How Much Does Medical Malpractice Insurance Cost?
The cost of Medical Malpractice Insurance varies, and other factors come into play while trying to calculate the cost. For instance, each state has different regulations and pricing on insurance as a whole. To compound that, medical personnel and medical practices have a variety of variables to take into account.
Different types of medical professionals have various risks. Some of these highly trained people are performing open heart surgery, while others are doing nose swabs and checking for the flu virus.
The average cost of Medical Malpractice Insurance is $7,500 annually. However, there many types of doctors and countless insurance variables. Keep this in mind when searching for coverage.
Surgeons pay between $30,000 and $50,000 a year. For other medical personnel, expect to pay between $4,000 and 12,000 a year.
What Does Medical Malpractice Insurance NOT Cover?
While medical malpractice is fairly inclusive in what it will cover, the policy does have limits. Medical Malpractice Insurance does not cover sexual misconduct, criminal acts, and misrepresentations.
The facility where the medical person works needs to have Employer’s Practice Liability Insurance (EPLI) in their insurance portfolio. This coverage insures claims that fall into the sexual misconduct and criminal acts category.
Understanding Tail Insurance
Tail Insurance can be added to a claims-made policy and ensures that the doctor is covered for a set amount of time after the coverage ends.
As claims-made policies require the physician to be under coverage at the time of the incident and when the claim is made, these policies can last 5 to 10 years after the coverage ends. This ensures that they are covered if a lawsuit is filed in the future.
Medical Malpractice Insurance Summary
Medical Malpractice Insurance is essential for all professionals in the medical industry. If you work with patients, you may be required to have this coverage.
Do not take the risk of practicing medicine without malpractice coverage. Get Medical Malpractice Insurance today and give yourself peace of mind.