insurance-medicalcontent – gtg

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?

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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, 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,

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.

Defensive Medicine. At most, a very small portion of health care costs result from” defensive medicine.” 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.”

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.

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?

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car insurance 3.22 – gtg

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It 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. Learn more about ways to compare boat insurance policies.

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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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