A Huffington Post article from a doctor talking about his lower medical malpractice insurance costs got significant attention in legal and medical communities at the end of last week.
What’s particularly notable is, the doctor reveals that the costs of medical malpractice insurance, as well as claims, have been down over the past 10 years. This trend, however, counteracts what most patients see with their health insurance – particularly rising costs.
Medical professionals and hospitals both saw a 40-percent decrease over the past decade, he points out. Specifically, amounts dropped from 17,000 paid claims at $4.5 billion in the U.S. in 2003 to 10,000 claims at $3.2 billion in 2011. Hospitals’ costs lessened from one to six-tenths of a percent over the same time period.
The doctor’s assertions match a recent study put out by Aon Risk Solutions and the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management at the end of October. Results show that, for 2014, professional liability claims will remain flat, with claim severity to grow by just 2.5 percent. This increase, the results point out, is the smallest in the report’s history.
The report further insinuates that improved patient safety has kept year-to-year rates flat.
However, as Becker’s Hospital Review reveals, medical malpractice protections still remain a large expense for hospitals and similar facilities. For 2014, the projected costs are:
• For professional liability, $2,940 per bed at 1.67 percent per bed, with each claim totaling $176,000 on average
• For class 1 physicians, $6,030 per bed at 2.97 percent per bed, with severity of $203,000
• $119 OBE for general liability claims, or $36,000 per claim
The findings further show that costs vary between states and professions. Within the medical field, obstetricians have the greatest medical malpractice liability, while states with tort reform laws experienced greater year-to-year severity increases.