The cost of medical malpractice insurance is surging in some locations, which the American Medical Association warns could threaten access to healthcare.
The AMA report marks the fourth year of increased medical malpractice insurance premiums.
In 2022, the AMA reported that 36% of policies saw premiums increase by an average rate of 8.1%, the highest since 2005.
According to the AMA, about 30% of medical liability policies experienced premium increases over the past three years. Physician practice location made a difference, as premiums varied widely.
Meanwhile, 8% of policies saw decreases in premiums. Compared with ten years ago when 28.7% of policies saw a premium reduction. However, surcharge declines entirely drove the premium decreases in 2022, according to the paper.
“If current trends continue, even if slower and less severe than the last hard market, this medical liability pressure could have detrimental effects on health care markets, such as an increase in defensive medicine, lower physician supply, and thus reduced access to care,” senior AMA economist José Guardado, wrote in the report.
As a result, the AMA has proposed a slate of tort reforms, liability safe harbors, new expert witness requirements, and caps on damages.
The report concludes, “It is not atypical for there to be hard and soft markets, for premiums to go up and down, as this is part of the insurance cycle. How severe and widespread the current hard market will become—how many premiums will increase, how high they will go and whether insurers will follow suit and increase premiums in other states—remains to be seen.”
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