Missouri Medical Malpractice Insurance Costs - Blame Insurance Companies, Not Lawyers, for Cost of Missouri and Illinois Medical Malpractice Coverage
We have all heard the claim that personal injury lawyers and medical malpractice lawsuits are driving malpractice insurance costs up for the doctors and hospitals and thus driving health insurance premiums and health care costs up for everybody. But are medical malpractice lawsuits that compensate injured victims and their families really at fault?
In July 2005, Jay Angoff, a former Missouri insurance commissioner, found that the payout on Missouri medical malpractice claims between 2000 and 2005 was practically the same each year. However, during those same 5 years the U.S. medical malpractice insurance companies increased doctors' medical malpractice insurance premiums by 120.2% percent over the same period.
One specific example is Medical Assurance, a Missouri medical malpractice insurer. In 2004 Med Assurance increased its rates by 89% (collecting an extra $151 Million in premiums); during that same year its payouts for claims and lawsuits fell by 1/3. Med Assurance only paid out 10 cents for every dollar collected.
Click here for examples of several other medical malpractice insurers that raise their rates significantly while their payouts remain the same or even fall.
What are the consequences of tort reform? Records profits for insurance companies and denial of justice for injured victims. For example, in Missouri the tort laws were so distorted in 2005 that now legitimate cases are economically infeasible and most top Missouri medical malpractice lawyers will not pursue the cases. What was touted in 2005 by the politicians and chamber of commerce as win for doctors was really a big win for insurance companies; they have seen record profits while doctors' insurance premiums are still rising and vicitms are denied justice.