Imagine this: a home health agency hires you to do some PRN work for them. Until now you’ve been between employment, having left your last job because of management issues. You explain to the hiring manager of the agency that you’re uninsured, but he assures you that it is okay—you will be automatically insured under the company’s policy while working for them. Because the company seems legitimate—the sign above their offices says “Caring for you, since 1972,” you take your new boss’s word for it. Besides, you need the work, and the company is backed up with patients that need care, which is why they agreed to hire you in the first place.
So you see a few patients, all the while proactively requesting a copy of the insurance policy. You call and you call. Your employer stalls. You see a few more patients. Finally, push comes to shove, and the employer admits that, actually, you’ve misunderstood: there is no policy.
Suddenly you realize that you’ve seen several patients while completely uninsured. You’re “accidentally bare,” which is a major problem. Since gaps in coverage expose insurance companies to vicarious liability, application forms for medical malpractice insurance will ask for verification of continuous coverage. Gaps in coverage can affect future policies. It’s also a legal problem. Most states require that physicians practice only while insured.
The above case is taken from a real-world example. It could happen to you!
So, what can you do?
Consider talking to an attorney.
The first thing you might do in such a case is discuss the matter with an attorney. Because practicing uninsured leaves you vulnerable to state laws requiring medical malpractice insurance, this becomes the overriding concern for the future of your practice. and so it is important to have the legal side covered. An attorney can help you consider your case in light of state malpractice laws, which can vary significantly.
Also, you still have those patients that you treated while uninsured. Will that haunt you throughout your practice? Is there a way to protect yourselves legally, since the fault seems to fall on your employer?
Talk to an insurance agent.
Another thing you should do is contact an insurance agent to discuss all of your options. Many companies are now offering “stand-alone tail” coverage, which could be used to cover unintentional gaps in coverage. These policies became popular as ways to cover gaps in claims-made policies, and so there are plenty of options out there. However, the options might be limited depending on the state that you live in. Furthermore, these policies can be pretty pricey, so you need to find options that are both helpful and affordable.
In tricky medical malpractice situations, you want to have an expert’s advice on where to find affordable insurance that’s right for you. Medical malpractice insurance can already be an extremely convoluted thing to weed through on your own, even in normal circumstances. If you find yourself in a difficult situation, it is imperative that you reach out to get the help you need. Try eQuote today if you need help, and we’ll be glad to get you connected with an agent to help you discuss your options!