Liability rate survey shows double-digit increases again

Nationwide, malpractice insurance rates for obstetrician/gynecologists, internists, and general surgeons continued the climb upward, reported American Medical News (11/10/03). Just how high has it gone? Citing Medical Liability Monitor's 2003 Rate Survey, the majority of ob/gyns, internists, and general surgeons saw double-digit increases in their insurance rates between 2002 and 2003.

Based on rates reported by insurance companies, the survey found that 58.2% of ob/gyns, internists, and general surgeons saw increases of 10% to 49%, and about 1% of these specialties saw increases of 100% or more. On the bright side, 22.6% of physicians in all three specialties saw their premiums remain the same or decrease.

The report also found that ob/gyns in Pennsylvania saw rates increase by 31.2% from $116,388 in 2002 to $152,730 in 2003; Pennsylvania is one of the states with the highest medical liability rates for this specialty and has been identified by the American Medical Association as a crisis state. Although ob/gyns in South Dakota saw the lowest premium in 2003 at $14,662, it still represented a 10% increase from 2002.

The survey also noted that 2004 doesn't look too promising: 83% of companies polled said that they would implement increases this year.

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