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AMA reports detail your cost burden for medical liability
e-Reports, Feb. 6, 2012
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Two trend reports from the AMA’s Policy Research Perspective series illustrate the price Americans pay for our broken medical liability system. Find these reports on the AMA website.

The first trend report analyzes indemnity and expense payments, claim disposition and policy limits based on a sample of medical liability claims that closed between 2001 and 2010, aggregated by the Physician Insurers Association of America. Key findings include:

  • Average cost of defending a physician against a medical liability claim in 2010 was $47,158, a 62.7 percent increase since 2001.
  • In 2010, 63.7 percent of all closed claims against physicians were dropped, withdrawn or dismissed. Each claim cost an average of $26,851 to defend, accounting for more than one-third of the total annual defense expenses.
  • The average medical liability indemnity payment to a claimant in 2010 was $331,947, an increase of 11.5 percent since 2001.
  • Since 2001, the share of medical liability insurance policies for physicians with limits exceeding $1 million increased from 28 percent to 41 percent.

The second trend report analyzes medical liability insurance premiums from 2004-2011, gathered from the Annual Rate Survey issue of the Medical Liability Monitor. Highlights in the report include:

  • Physicians continue to face high costs to insure themselves against medical liability claims. Premiums in many states remain higher than they were during the height of the last medical liability crisis.
  • About 5 percent of premiums increased by 10 percent or more, the largest proportion of upward premium changes since 2007 when 8 percent of premiums increased by 10 percent or more.
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