Doctors are under the moral obligation to work to the best of their abilities and provide good medical care to their patients. A sufferer comes to a doctor with the hope that he would cure the sufferings of the patient. As the nature of relationship between the doctor and his patients is highly sensitive unlike any other taker-giver relationship, any instance of mistake or negligence can cause serious injuries or even death at times.
To make sure that medical practitioners follow their moral obligations seriously and take utmost care of their patients, they were made answerable under the Tort Law. Hence, if anyone who has suffered any harm following negligence of the doctor, then they are viable to file medical malpractices claim and seek compensations. In such cases, the doctors too suffer financial losses. Hence, a strong backing from the insurance companies is required to both parties to sustain the expenses. There are several agencies that offer suitable medical malpractice insurance to both patients and doctors.
Most states have made it binding on the doctors to purchase the liability insurance. Few doctors choose to “go bare” by not buying any liability coverage. However, this harms their eligibility to find jobs in other states. Most medical care specialists need to buy insurance from commercial agencies. Few hospitals that directly hire medical staff buy an insurance that covers the hospital management and the staff members. Physicians hired by state receive insurance from the state.
Types of Insurance
This policy covers up any incident that occurs during the policy period. The insured gets the benefits even if a claim is filed years after the policy expiry, as long as the incident happened during the policy period. Occurrence policies are rare as they are risky for the insurer, expensive for the policyholder and difficult for the back office to manage records years after policy expiry.
Claims Made Policies
The claims-made policy covers up the events that took place after the effective date of issue of first policy and was reported during the policy period. The policy payments begin at a lower rate in the initial years. Further, the claims premium amounts increase significantly following the maturity of the coverage. Also, the coverage allows the policyholder to increase the liability limit as per the current requirements. In case of switching carriers or terminating coverage, insurer can opt for tail coverage. With this type of coverage, the insurer can demand payment for incidences claimed after the end of the original period.
Let us take a simple example to explain the types of insurance policies.
Let us say that an unfortunate incident of medical malpractice took place in June 2006. The doctor became aware of possible charges in 2008 and he informed the insurer as well. However, the insurance claims were made in year 2010. In this scenario, the doctor would be covered under following insurance policies.
Cancellation of Insurance
It is vital for medical practitioners to be covered with an insurance policy. Hence, most practitioners make sure that they retain the insurance policy. However, certain instances can lead to cancellation of the insurance coverage. Few common reasons for cancellation include:
Failure to make payments of premiums
Mutual understanding and approval towards ending the contract
The policyholder’s license is canceled, suspended or restricted
Intentional negligence of a problem or willful participation in causing harm
Discovery that retaining the policy will cause violation of the insurance act
Choosing an insurance policy
There are several factors considered while costing the value of insurance policy. Two major factors include geographical locations and specialty. Insurance agencies consider the location and determine the potential for medical practices lawsuits within that state.
Secondly, the specialties of the insurer are also looked into while calculating the amount. Make sure that you do some research to find out the best insurance policies. Do not compromise with what your employer gives you. If you are a board certified practitioner, then you can enjoy the benefits of low premiums. Also, all those practitioners who have an experience of 5 years+, without any malpractice incident on record, can demand for a discount. Make sure that you consider retirement and untimely death while choosing the policy. Opt for a policy that will give you good rewards.
Every USA state has a different approach towards medical malpractice and policies for insurance. Hence, before you take any decision, verify the rules applicable to your state of practice. Consult lawyers and insurance agencies to understand the advantages, limitations and protocols of every insurance type and later determine the medical malpractice insurance policy best suited to your needs.