“Medical Malpractice Insurance policies have become a commodity in the insurance industry, meaning that they are all about the same and there is not much difference in price from one company to the next.”This statement is not quite true. Actually, there are differences in the policies and the costs, and if you’re an OB/GYN, you need to know those differences. eQuoteMD can help you discover the important differences because we have access to more medical malpractice insurance carriers than anyone else. Let us show you how to get the right coverage at the best price.
You already know it’s important to have medical malpractice insurance. It is there to protect you and your assets in case you are sued for some reason. This is important coverage because more than 50% of physicians will be sued at least once in their careers. Also, most employers and state laws require physicians to have adequate insurance. But there are specific coverage needs for an OB/GYN because of high-risk procedures, a long statute of limitations, and a risk of failure to diagnose certain conditions.
OB/GYNs have more medical malpractice claims because they perform higher-risk procedures than most other specialties. There is a higher risk of an unexpected outcome. It’s the nature of the specialty. Not to mention, unfortunately, patients can sue for any reason, even if there is no evidence of negligence. They don’t always win, but you need a malpractice insurance policy that will defend you well, whether you did anything wrong or not. And you want to make sure you have coverage that includes defense costs outside the limit of liability. In other words, the defense costs don’t cut into the amount of money available for indemnity.
In the case of a claim with a bad outcome, it’s important to have an insurance policy that is financially stable, because claims involving the delivery of babies can produce incredibly high payouts. Look for a company with an A.M. Best Rating of “A” or better. eQuoteMD can help you navigate the landscape and find the best companies available. Because of the difference in risks, the cost of medical malpractice will vary depending on if you deliver babies or not, if you are in an office doing GYN only, or if you do surgeries or not. More risk equals higher insurance rates.
Another important consideration when purchasing medical malpractice insurance is the statute of limitations for claims involving prenatal care, labor and delivery, and delivery of a newborn. In most cases, the state statute of limitations is 2 – 3 years for medical malpractice. But with OB/GYNs it can be as long as the child’s 18th or even 21st birthday. This makes it imperative to have a claims-made insurance policy and not an occurrence policy. Why?
An occurrence policy covers a physician at the time the event occurred. So, if an incident happened during a delivery or a C-Section, but the claim wasn’t filed until 15 years later, you would have to go back to the company you were insured with 15 years ago. What if you changed carriers? What if that carrier is no longer in business? That’s where a claims-made policy comes in.
A claims-made policy covers claims that are established when the claim is actually filed. So, even if an incident from 15 years ago results in a claim today, it is the current insurance carrier who covers it. The carrier you had back then is irrelevant. The claims-made policy is better protection for previous years’ work or prior acts. A claims-made policy is less expensive than an occurrence policy, but there is a tail coverage issue if the policy is canceled. However, there is a provision for free tail coverage in the case of retirement, death, or disability of the covered physician.
Every physician faces the risk of a medical malpractice claim for misdiagnosed or undiagnosed conditions, but OB/GYNs are at a much higher risk. There are more and more claims of undiagnosed conditions in prenatal care and cancer detection than ever before. These are currently the leading cause of claims for the specialty. You need an insurance carrier that will defend you and protect your practice when a claim arises. Find a company with a long history of defending OB/GYNs. There are several unique programs that know your specialty more than any other carrier.
Because there are so many risks, it is recommended that OB/GYN physicians and surgeons do some research on the medical malpractice insurance carriers available in the market. Be sure to find one that is A-rated, financially stable, and has a long history of protecting OB/GYNs. In addition, some carriers provide much-needed risk management services that can reduce the risk of a claim and lower the cost of the insurance policy. Also, to find the right kind of company, there are many options including stock companies, mutual companies, and risk retention groups. The consultants at eQuoteMD can help you figure out what’s best for your situation.
The insurance needs for an OB/GYN physician are unique in the medical field. Make sure you find a medical malpractice insurance policy and carrier that can meet those needs. Check out our “OB/GYN’s Guide to Finding Medical Malpractice Insurance” on the Resources page on our website. It gives more details on how to find the right coverage for the best price in any state.