Dispelling Common Myths about Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
For years, medical professionals and their insurers have argued that medical malpractice lawsuits have necessitated an increase in medical malpractice insurance premiums, with a corresponding increase in the cost of medical care. Studies have consistently shown, however, that those assertions are simply without factual support. Here are some of the findings as they relate to Pennsylvania.
Finding #1: Increased Medical Malpractice Awards Have Not Caused an Increase in Medical Malpractice Insurance Premiums
In all of the studies conducted, there was a marked decrease in the number and value of medical malpractice awards. One report showed a 13% decline in the number of medical malpractice jury verdicts over a seven year period. Nonetheless, there was an increase in medical malpractice insurance premiums of about 15%. Researchers say the increase was primarily in response to losses in the insurance company investment portfolios.
Finding #2: Medical Malpractice Premiums Do Not Drive the Cost of Medical Care
In research published in Medical Economics, researchers found that medical malpractice insurance premiums typically account for less than 5% of total practice revenue, often as little as 2%. The U.S. Congressional Budget Office has concluded that the total costs of medical liability, including malpractice premiums and malpractice awards, is less than one percent of the total cost of health care in the United States.
Finding #3: Limits on Medical Malpractice Awards Don’t Lower Malpractice Insurance Premiums
A number of reports have found that physicians in states with no caps on medical malpractice awards actually pay lower premiums than physicians in states with fairly aggressive damage award caps.
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