How Health Law Could Affect Medical Professional Liability - Capstone Brokerage

Med malpractice

By: Insurance Journal, July 2013

The U.S. medical professional liability (MPL) market has been profitable in recent years but challenges await MPL insurers because an influx of newly insured patients, coupled with health care delivery system changes, could expand the risks MPL insurers face.

The Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) addressed the topic at its annual reinsurance seminar in June.

The federal government estimates 32 million Americans who have no health insurance today will become covered under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), a measure which will be primarily implemented in 2014. MPL insurance policies financially protect doctors against lawsuits alleging negligence or errors and omissions on the doctors’ part that result in harm to their patients.

“Health care coverage offers no guarantee that someone will have access to health care,” said Kevin Bingham, an associate of the CAS and a principal at Deloitte in Hartford. Bingham said that while 78 percent of all doctors had either a private practice or operated with one other doctor in 1978, the number of doctors who work under that business model dropped to 30 percent as of 2013.

Many of these same doctors are now working directly for hospitals so the need for hospitals to provide personalized care has grown in importance. “A lot of medical malpractice claims go away if there’s good customer service,” Bingham said.

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