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Medical Malpractice Insurance – Problems That Transcend Time and Place

Today’s insurance crisis for doctors is only a small part of a much larger insurance problem that is affecting homeowners, motorists and all kinds of policyholders, including consumers in other countries, all at the same time.

We are hearing more about doctors’ and hospitals’ insurance problems today for several reasons. When insurance companies impose arbitrary rate hikes on certain doctors and hospitals that are so high, or in some cases make insurance unavailable at any price, these doctors and hospitals cannot function, a situation that can reduce access to health care.

Unlike homeowners or motorists, the well-organized and well-funded American Medical
Association (AMA) has moved quickly to take political advantage of the insurance situation, devoting $15 million to it this year. The AMA and associated medical lobbies are not pushing for insurance reform, however. They are primarily lobbying for organized medicine’s longstanding priority – lawsuit restrictions – even though such limits will not solve the current insurance crisis.

Doctors’ current insurance problems are no different from those affecting:

Other lines of insurance. Skyrocketing premiums and cancellations of homeowners’ policies are at crisis proportions in many states. In Texas, where insurance rates are going up 500 percent for some, Governor Rick Perry called the top three writers in his state (Allstate, Farmers and State Farm) “an insurance cartel” taking action “to bring the state to its knees.” He has sued Farmers Insurance for deceptive trade practices leading to these astronomical rate hikes. Auto insurance, liability policies for small businesses and commercial properties and even health insurance policies are starting to experience steep increases as well.

Other countries. Over the past year, industry publications like Best Wire and Best’s Insurance News have reported repeatedly on a similar insurance crises that exists in Australia, and on price hikes that Canadian policyholders are starting to experience. In fact, CJ&D and AIR representatives have been in demand by Australian programs like 60 Minutes Australia as well as the Australian Broadcasting Network to discuss parallels between the U.S. and Australia’s current insurance problems. See., e.g., http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/s591441.htm.

Other times. Volcanic eruptions in insurance premiums have occurred three times in the last 30 years – in the mid 1970s, again in the mid-1980s, and now today. In the mid-1980s, news reports reminiscent of today included: “Doctors are threatening to quit practicing some specialties or move out of the state while South Florida hospitals and trauma centers have threatened to shut down or have curtailed services,” (St. Petersburg Times), May 7, 1987; “Doctors and hospitals in [West Virginia] have been saying for weeks that they would have to close their doors at the end of this month when three major insurance companies planned to cancel malpractice insurance coverage” (Washington Post, May 24, 1986) In the 1980s, lawmakers in some 46 states passed “tort reforms” after being told by insurance companies and others that this was the only way to reduce high insurance rates. Evidently, it didn’t work.

QUESTION: How can restrictions on U.S. jury awards in medical malpractice cases solve an insurance crisis that affects many other lines of insurance, including homeowners’, auto and health policies, and even insurance in other countries?

QUESTION: In the mid-1970s and mid-1980s, lawmakers around the country enacted extensive “tort reforms” after being told by insurance companies and others that this was the only way to reduce skyrocketing insurance rates. If this were the solution, why are we faced with an identical insurance crisis today?

Source: Center for Justice & Democracy, “A Short Guide to Understanding Today’s Medical Malpractice Insurance ‘Crisis'” September 25, 2002. For more information, please visit http://www.centerjd.org.

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Myths About Litigation, Defensive Medicine and Costs

Medical malpractice litigation in this country is far from frivolous. In a major study released in 1999, the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine found that up to 98,000 people are killed each year by medical errors in hospitals -far more than die from car accidents, breast cancer or AIDS. (These figures vastly underestimate the magnitude of the problem since hospital patients represent only a small percentage of the total population at risk). Yet eight times as many patients are injured by medical malpractice as ever file a claim; 16 times as many suffer injuries as receive any compensation. Moreover, according to the National Center for State Courts, there has been no change in the volume of medical malpractice cases in the last five years.

Medical malpractice costs make up only a tiny fraction of total health care costs. According to a study by the Consumer Federation of America, medical malpractice costs, as a percentage of health care costs, are at an all time low, 0.55 percent. Report author J. Robert Hunter, former Texas Insurance Commissioner and Federal Insurance Administrator, said, “Medical malpractice insurance is amazing value, considering that it covers all medical injuries for about one-half of one percent of health system costs!” Memo from Joanne Doroshow to Interested Persons with attached spreadsheet prepared by J. Robert Hunter, Director of Insurance, Consumer Federation of America, November 14, 2001.

Far more costly than malpractice lawsuits are the costs of medical errors. Total national costs (lost income, lost household production, disability and health care costs) of negligence in hospitals are already estimated to be between $17 billion and $29 billion each year, of which health care costs represent over one-half. Moreover, these figures vastly underestimate the magnitude of the problem since hospital patients represent only a small percentage of the total population at risk, and direct hospital costs are only a fraction of the total costs. Kohn, Corrigan, Donaldson, Eds., To Err is Human; Building a Safer Health System, Institute of Medicine, National Academy Press: Washington, DC (1999).

Defensive Medicine. At most, a very small portion of health care costs result from” defensive medicine.” In 1994, the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) was asked initially by proponents of sweeping malpractice tort restrictions to study the issue. OTA found, among other things, that only “a relatively small proportion of all diagnostic procedures – certainly less than 8 percent – is likely to be caused primarily by conscious concern about malpractice liability risk.” OTA found that “Most physicians who order “aggressive diagnostic procedures … do so primarily because they believe such procedures are medically indicated, not primarily because of concerns about liability.” The effects of traditional tort reforms – particularly caps on damages and amendments to the collateral source rule – on defensive medicine “are likely to be small.”

In 1995, Dr. Wayne Cohen, who was then medical director of Bronx Municipal Hospital, said, “The city was spending so much money defending obstetrics suits, they just made a decision that it would be cheaper to hire people who knew what they were doing.” Dean Baquet and Jane Fritsch, “New York’s Public Hospitals Fail, and Babies Are the Victims,” New York Times, March 5, 1995.

QUESTION: If the cost of medical errors is far greater than the costs of medical malpractice lawsuits brought by the small number of injured patients who actually file cases, how can reducing the number of lawsuits – lessening the financial incentives for hospitals and HMOs to operate safely – lower the system’s costs?

Source: Center for Justice & Democracy, “A Short Guide to Understanding Today’s Medical Malpractice Insurance ‘Crisis'” September 25, 2002. For more information, please visit http://www.centerjd.org.

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Whenever you rent an apartment, it is important that you check whether it is covered under the policy of your landlord or not. Usually, this does not happen. The renters have to get their own apartment renter’s insurance whenever they move in. This will make you relief from various tensions related to unexpected instances where you have to spend a large sum of money.

Situation without apartment renters insurance

There have been instances where people living on rent had to bear fire damages. All their property got destroyed and they had to ask their friends to provide some furniture to live on. Do you want to end up in such kind of situation? No one would ever want that. The apartment renter’s insurance will be the solution to this problem. You will be protected from all such instances.

Planning to get Apartment renters insurance

When you are getting the renter’s insurance, the first thing that you need to do is make a list of every valuable thing you have. This list will include your furniture, fixtures, clothes, electronic devices, or anything else that is valuable to you. There are some insurance policies that only cover the house not the assets. It will be your responsibility that you insure the house and the assets inside them.

Once you have created the inventory, you need to total the value of the items. It will be just an estimate but it will offer you a lot of help. There are many of us, who get apartments in such areas where there is higher risks of hurricanes, floods, and similar other damages. There are even areas where there is higher rate of theft. People living in such areas are the real deservers of the renter’s insurance.

Understand the importance of renters insurance

There are plenty of such homeowners, who understand the importance of renter’s insurance. There can be such instances where you might damage or injury some other person because of the damage in your apartment. What if your house is ruined due to water damage and this damage causes damage to the property of your neighbor too? Your neighbor can sue you for this damage. It is better that you save yourself from such troubles through the renter’s liability insurance. The insurance will even protect you from the damages your property will cause to others.

What about the landlord’s insurance?

You must understand this fact well that landlords do have insurance but it only covers their property. The landlord does not provide any kind of regard to the tenant in case of unfortunate events. His insurance claim will only cover the damage to the building not the damage to your personal property. You cannot even ask the landlord to help you. Hence, it all ends up on the need of having apartment renter’s insurance to keep you and others protected.

If you already own the renter’s insurance then it is time for you to renew the insurance policy. Do not forget to add the new items you have brought to your apartment while renewing the insurance policy

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The very first question that most of the renters ask is why would I possibly need the Renter’s liability insurance? Honestly, it is the need of every individual, who is living on rent. Like all insurances, it is also meant for your protection. You will be protected from theft and losses. There are some damages that can occur even when you are living in the rented house. When you go and ask the landlord for help then he will simply refuse. How can a landlord possibly help you if someone has broken into your house and stolen your precious items? There are even cases where the landlord asks you to pay for the damages. For example, if the house is damaged because of fire, the landlord will ask you to fix it and pay for the damaged caused to others too. The insurance will protect you from bearing such expenses.

What does the Renters liability insurance cover?

The basic Renters liability insurance will be protecting you from theft and apartment damaged due to unfortunate events like fire. There will be liability protection for the owner too. Medical expenses of the individual, who got hurt inside your apartment, will be covered. Your insurance will also cover the price of the replacements you did in the apartment after damage or theft. On the whole, it will protect all your precious assets.

Renter is more responsible for the protection of property

If you are living in some apartment or house for rent, then it is your responsibility to make the environment safe for yourself. You as a renter will also be responsible for the trespasser. Like in case of a car accident, you have to pay for the damage caused to others as well as to your own car. Similarly, if your apartment catches fire and the property of your neighbor gets damaged then you are going to be liable for those damages too. The landlord will never be responsible for the damages. It will always be the one, who is living on rent. They also have some responsibilities but they won’t be in your best interest. The insurance of your landlord will cover the building but not the contents of the buildings. Thus, do not rely on the landlord’s insurance.

Types of renters insurances

There are basically 2 types of renters insurance, which are:

Standard Renters Insurance: The standard renters insurance will provide coverage for the personal property damages or losses for which you have demanded protected against theft, fire, hailstorm, and windstorm. Damaged caused by natural disasters are usually excluded.
Renters Liability Insurance: The second type of insurance is the renter’s liability insurance. The standard insurance just covers the personal property of the tenant from losses whereas the renter’s liability is a wide term. It will also cover an individual from the loss of financial assets. The insurance will pay for the medical expenses, legal fees, and injury expenses too. For example, if someone was inside your apartment when the damage occurred and he got injured or faced some kind of loss then the insurance will cover that too.
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is essential to compare boat insurance like any other types of insurance you get. First, you need to evaluate your needs as a boat enthusiast. Different types of vessels require distinctive types of coverage. Are you using your boat for pleasure, or is it for business or work? Maybe you just love to go fishing, or taking people around for entertainment? Each of these activities needs a specific kind of insurance coverage. It will most likely save you a lot of money in the long run to cover damages, and even just to maintain your boat.

Compare Boat Insurance – Why Not Add It To My Car Policy?

There are several types of insurance that can be just add-on to your auto or even your home insurance. It may seem like the easiest thing to do, but it may not be convenient for most boat owners. It is highly advisable, when doing your research and compare boat insurance policies, to ask for boat insurance policy only. And because your boat may have cost you a significant amount of money, you will want the best protection for it, as you would make in any other major investment. This insurance will be specific on discussing the damages that can occur to marine vessels.

Every insurance policy comes with their own terms and definitions. Hull insurance basically means coverage to any damage to the boat, equipment, and machinery. It is similar to the auto insurances’ comprehensive and collision insurance. Now, what you should do is to put all insurance policies and quotes on a side by side comparison. Check which ones have a general coverage for your boat and which companies offer specific coverage to the type of boat you have. Prices will vary as well, so take that into consideration. Look for the loss settlement, and if they have an agreed value. Verify the actual cash value for a vessel total loss or even a replacement cost.

Comparing boat insurance policies can be an invaluable tool, as it can guide you to the right type of coverage. Not only, that, but it may save you a lot of money as well. While you are on this process, you may learn more about what involves boat insurance. What is included and what may not be included? And what are your responsibilities as a boat owner. Terms such as Hull insurance or deductible insurance may not be so familiar to you, if you are a new boat owner. You will definitely come across those terms and learn more about what each of those may mean for your policy.
Remember; compare boat insurance and do a good research on it, that comparisons will help you decide which policies best fit your boating lifestyle.

Every boat insurance policy has it own specific kind of insurance coverage. Click here to learn more about ways to compare boat insurance policies.

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Ways To Get The Best Auto Insurance Plan
These days, we are inundated with auto insurance commercials, with each agency claiming to have the best price and deal for you. Who can you really trust, and how can you make the most informed decision? The advice in this article will help you sort through this overwhelming overload of auto insurance information.
When dealing with car insurance a person needs to understand that who they are will affect their premiums. Insurance companies will look at things such as how old you are, if your male or female, and what kind of driving record that you have. If your a male that is 25 or younger you are going to have the higher insurance rates.
To maintain a low price for automobile insurance, always try to have a good driving record. Traffic violations and accidents can greatly increase your premium. Insurance companies take these things very seriously and it is always best to try to avoid accidents, when you are at fault, and traffic tickets, such as speeding.
Regardless of whether you are searching online or in person for car insurance, shop around! Differences abound for premium prices, as insurance companies take different viewpoints of your statistics. Some may be more interested in your driving record, while others may focus more on your credit. Find the company that offers you the best coverage for the lowest price.
Purchase a high quality “safety-rated” vehicle to get lower premium rates. These vehicles are known to be the safest on the market, so insurance companies will give you a bit of extra credit if you are driving one. Look for sedans and family cars, as they are usually the ones with the best ratings.
When you are driving on the road, make sure that you obey the speed limit. There is no reason to get unnecessary tickets, which can cost you a lot of money and raise your insurance rates over the year. Drive safely if you want to increase your cash at hand.
If your car is a significant asset, (i.e. expensive and having high resale value) make sure you purchase additional liability coverage for it when you insure it. The legal minimum liability coverage which is your cheapest option will not provide enough compensation if your valuable car gets damaged. The additional cost of additional coverage is worth paying to protect a car with real value.
In order to get the very best price on your auto insurance policy, avoid making monthly payments on the policy. Instead request to divide your premium into two payments, six months apart. In this way, you will be able to avoid monthly processing fees assessed by numerous companies. Even if your insurer requires monthly installments, try to set up automatic payments in order to avoid any additional mailing or billing charges that may otherwise accrue.
Even if you may be short on cash, auto insurance is not something you should skip out on. The road can be a dangerous place, even for the safest of drivers. Auto insurance will help protect you (and your family) when you are out on the road. Apply the advice from this article to choose the best auto insurance for you.
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Searching For Savings? Here Are Some Auto Insurance Tips To Help!

Whether you are new to the insurance world, wanting to combine your policies or shopping for better rates or coverage, you probably have some questions. Here you will find lots of helpful information that will make it fast and easy to learn more about the often, confusing world of auto insurance.
If you are driving into Canada or Mexico, many people don’t realize that your American car insurance won’t cover you in a foreign country. You will need to purchase auto insurance ahead of time online, or in the border town or city where you will be crossing over into either Canada or Mexico.
When considering insurance for a young driver, be sure that it is known to the insurance provider that they will only have access to one car. This will cut the rates considerably, especially if the least valuable and safest car is chosen. Having multiple cars can be a blessing for convenience, but when rates are considered, it is not a good idea.
To help save money on car insurance, start with a car that is cheaper to insure. Buying a sporty car with a large V-8 engine can push your annual insurance premium to double what it would be for a smaller, less flashy car with a 4 cylinder engine that saves gas at the same time.
With auto insurance, the lower your deductible rate is, the more you have to pay out of pocket when you get into an accident. A great way to save money on your auto insurance is to opt to pay a higher deductible rate. This means the insurance company has to pay out less when you’re involved in an accident, and thus your monthly premiums will go down.
Check out your actual insurance costs before heading to the car dealership. Different types of cars carry different premium amounts. Check with your agent on the types and models of cars you are looking at to see which one makes the most financial sense. Being armed with this information at the car lot, will help you make a better deal.
Keep a camera in your car at all times. In case of an accident, you are going to need documentation for your insurance company. Take photos of the accident from all angles, and make sure to include time and date stamps on them. Take these to your agent when you file your claim.
Try to dig up as much information about how a particular car insurance company handles claims. There are some out there that will get the work done on your car as quickly as your mechanic can do the work ,and there are others that will really drag their feet when it comes to paying out a claim.
The information you have read, should give you the confidence so that you will be able to go out and make the right choice for your auto insurance needs. Now you should better be able to understand coverage, find affordable rates, keep your family safe and be prepared for any losses that may occur.
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Learn About The Tips That Make Buying Auto Insurance Easy
Automobile insurance is important for anyone who owns or leases a vehicle that they drive – even if only occasionally. Insurance protects you during accidents by potentially paying for any damages or other fees, and can even replace a totaled car. Read this article to pick the best auto insurance possible.
A simple way to save a bit of money on your auto insurance, is to find out whether the insurance company gives discounts for either paying the entire premium at once (most will give you a small discount for doing this) or taking payments electronically. Either way, you will pay less than shelling out each month’s payment separately.
One of the best ways to drop your auto insurance rates is to show the insurance company that you are a safe, reliable driver. To do this, you should think about attending a safe-driving course. These courses are affordable, quick, and you could end up saving thousands of dollars over the life of your insurance policy.
Keeping up with the times is a great way to save money on your auto insurance. Most insurance companies have electronic payment plans set up via their websites. If you use these and make your payments on time, you will be able to save some money. There’s nothing wrong with the old-fashioned way, but you can save some cash by making e-payments.
If someone causes an accident that involves you and or your vehicle, and their insurance only covers a portion of the cost, or expenses you have incurred, having under-insured coverage on your policy will make up the difference so you don’t have any out of pocket expenses, or aren’t left with a large deficit.
If you have an older car that does not have a high value, remove the collision coverage from your insurance to save money. It is possible that your car is worth less than your deductible, so consider carefully whether or not collision coverage is actually going to pay anything in the event of an accident.
If you are car shopping be sure to check with your auto insurance agent about how the car you are selecting will affect your premium. Different cars will have different effects on your insurance costs, and it is often difficult to predict on your own what a certain car will mean for your premiums.
Find out all of the available discounts that your insurance provider offers. There may be some discounts available that you did not know about when you opened your policy. You may have to take a driver’s course of some kind but it will increase your driving skills and reduce your premiums.
When it is possible to do so, try not drive your car. In many states, the premium amount is based on how many miles you drive each year. If you do end up driving less, make sure to call and let the insurance know so that they can lower our premium rate.
Auto insurance quotes are a great way to compare prices of different companies. Looking online or stopping at insurance offices can help you decide which auto insurance is right for you. Remember the tips in this article to make sure you’re paying the best price for the right auto insurance for you and anyone else on your policy.

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