Medical malpractice insurance is something you’ll need as a doctor, whether it comes from your employer or you buy a policy yourself. When it comes to the specifics of which approach to take, there are multiple factors to consider.
One such consideration is something called “damage caps.” There are a few select states that have place a cap on all forms of damages in medical malpractice cases, including compensation for the costs of long-term medical care and disability. So it would make sense to only cover yourself up to the cap amount with your policy, right?
Not necessarily. Most states that have caps in place only cap non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. There is rarely a cap on economic damages, so you’ll still likely want to cover yourself for more than the cap amount.
In terms of policy, there are two main forms: Occurrence and Claims Made policies. Both have advantages in different situations.
Claims Made policies are terrific for situations where there is a lot of turnover, or uncertainty as to how long the policy will be needed. Occurrence policies can be beneficial with long-term employees.
You have a vested interest in your medical malpractice coverage and you should know the carrier and coverage limits that are in place, regardless of who pays the premiums for the policy (you or your employer). To figure out what levels of coverage you need, talk to your insurance broker to create a plan that fits your needs.
Lastly, there are ways to protect yourself outside of medical malpractice insurance. Continually work to improve your communication skills and bedside manner. A healthy relationship between providers and patients and managing expectations go a long way to reduce blame when something goes wrong.