What every doctor needs to know in 2019
Medical malpractice laws can vary widely from state to state, particularly as it relates to statutes of limitations, the legal process, liability, and damages. Luckily for our Hoosier healthcare providers, Indiana is one of the best states to practice medicine in.
In 1975, Indiana was the first state in the nation to implement malpractice reform via the Medical Malpractice Act (MMA), a seminal feature of which is the Patient’s Compensation Fund (PCF). The MMA offers protection to both patients and healthcare providers and has helped improve malpractice insurance rates, quality of coverage, and patient access to care.
One of the most important aspects of the MMA is the cap, or limit, on the amount of damages that can be recovered in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The cap has been raised twice since 1975 and, pursuant to legislation passed in 2016, will see two increases by July 1, 2019.
The first increase to the malpractice cap took effect on July 1, 2017. Malpractice claims that arise after that date are subject to a cap of $1,650,000, with providers responsible for the first $400,000 and the PCF providing excess coverage to a maximum of $1,250,000. The cap is set to increase again on July 1, 2019 to $1,800,000, and providers will need to carry a $500,000 primary limit and the PCF will provide an excess limit of $1,300,000.
Primary Limit INPCF Limit Total Cap on Damages
< July 1, 2017 $250,000 $1,000,000 $1,250,000
July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2019 $400,000 $1,250,000 $1,650,000
July 1, 2019 + $500,000 $1,300,000 $1,800,000
What does this mean for you?
Whether your malpractice insurance policy renews before or after July 1, 2019, your carrier should automatically increase your policy limits to match the new amount on that date. Generally, premiums are not adjusted mid-term, but it is possible that your rate may change at the next year’s renewal.
If your malpractice insurance policy renews on July 1, 2019, your policy limits will be updated at renewal to match the new amount. It is possible that your rate may change at this time.
Comparing malpractice insurance options is a healthy exercise for all practices – from the solo provider to the large, complex healthcare network; and luckily there are resources available to help you do the legwork. Leveraging the expertise of a qualified independent insurance agent gives you access to multiple carriers and options, ensuring that you are getting the best coverage at the best price.
Take this opportunity to re-assess your own malpractice insurance coverage and make sure that you’re prepared for 2019 and beyond.
Ready to get started? Contact us today.