Medical malpractice insurance costs are rising yearly. Because of this, many doctors in various specialities are keenly aware of the laws and regulations that govern malpractice insurance, which vary by state. A doctor will sometimes choose a state in which to practice based on malpractice insurance costs. The averages vary dramatically by state, so a brief overview of states is necessary in order to get an indication as to how much a doctor can expect to pay.
Variations Between States
The average cost of medical malpractice insurance varies by state. There are a number of different factors that create these variations. Each individual insurer sets its own premiums for medical malpractice insurance, and these are based on incidents of litigation and other general assessments of the risk pool. This means the insurance companies providing insurance within the state look at the potential for lawsuits within that state, within that branch of medicine, and set insurance rates.
Differences Among Specialties
Different specialities have different average costs because of varying levels of risk and the history of past litigation within those specialists. For instance, obstetrics has a very high rate of litigation. Damages also tend to be high when an infant is harmed at birth, because that infant will have to deal with that injury for its entire lifetime. The more potential for things to go wrong as a result of medical negligence, the higher the average insurance rates tend to be within that speciality.
Low Cost States
Minnesota has some of the lowest malpractice costs for doctors. However, the cost of insurance in Minnesota varies widely by speciality. Internal medicine, general surgery and obstetrics are three of the areas monitored by groups such as the Government Accountability Office. As of 2009, the average cost for malpractice insurance for general surgeons hovered around £6,500 per year; for internal medicine, £2,600 per year; and for OB/GYNs, up to £11,050 per year.
Malpractice liability insurance rates in California, on the other hand, depend largely upon demographics, so average rates may vary from place to place. Some of the largest insurers also deviate from one another widely in terms of how much insurance costs. At the low end, doctors in internal medicine may only pay £3,900 per year from premium coverage. However, in 2009, OB/GYNs could end up paying more than £35,750 per year for insurance coverage. Insurance for general surgeons can cost between £14,300 per year and £22,100 per year.
Average Cost States
Pennsylvania malpractice insurance falls in the middle with respect to average cost. Rates differ between the major insurers due to demographic and claims differences. In 2009, base rates for general surgery could be as low as £18,200 annually or as high as £32,500. Internal medicine malpractice insurance costs varied between around £3,900 to £7,150. Obstetricians/gynecologists could find themselves paying up to £41,600 or more for coverage.
High Cost States
While Nevada malpractice insurance rates are between middle to high in comparison with all other states, doctors of many types in Nevada--including general internists, paediatricians and general practice doctors--earn a higher average salary than doctors in any other state. In 2009, one of the highest rates of insurance in Nevada is for OB/GYNs, who may pay between £55,250 for malpractice liability insurance per year up to £92,300 per year for a premium plan by a prominent insurance company. Although the average annual salary for such doctors was around £117,000 in 2009, malpractice insurance can still be a huge financial burden.
Florida has some of the highest rates of liability insurance. Moreover, the deviation between low and high averages varies in Florida more widely than in almost any other state. For instance, a doctor in internal medicine in Florida could expect to pay in excess of £36,400 per year for insurance as of 2009, in contrast with Minnesota's £2,600. General surgeons paid in between £58,500 per year and £113,750 per year or more. OB/GYNs once again could expect the highest rates, with liability coverage ranging from £65,000 to £130,000 per year.