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Malpractice rates on the rise

Article

Survey from MGMA shows majority of doctors saw an increase since 2020

A survey from the Medical Group Management Association revealed that the majority of doctors have seen their malpractice premiums increase since 2020, and some of those increases have been dramatic.

The majority (62%) said their rates had increased, while 5% said they decreased, and 33% said they stayed the same.

While the average increase was 14.3%, some physicians saw much higher rates.

The range was as follows:

  • 28.9% said less than 10%
  • 47.8% responded 10% to 19%
  • 15.6% noted 20% to 29%
  • 7.8% stated 30% or more.

In January of 2020, an MGMA poll found that 41% had seen rising malpractice premiums, compared to a 2013-2018 when costs dropped 21.5%

According to the American Medical Association, 12 states’ premiums increased 10% or more over the previous year. The top five were:

  1. Illinois (58.9%)
  2. West Virginia (41.7%)
  3. Missouri (29.6%)
  4. Oregon (20.0%)
  5. South Carolina (16.7%).


All told, nearly half (24) of all states’ premiums increased in 2020 and 2021.

During the past two to three years, premiums for some specialists, such as OB/GYN, have more than doubled, causing some physicians to question whether they can continue to practice in the state they reside.

According to the MGMA, even though claims and payouts have dropped, severity — in the form of high-dollar verdicts and settlements — is on the rise. Moreover, while these verdicts were once concentrated in certain parts of the country, they are now becoming more widespread. Add to this a backlog of cases delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the anticipation of additional claims as care volumes increase amid COVID-19 cases dropping, and physicians are forced to pay higher premiums.

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