Maryland Medical Professional Liability Insurance Market Summary

Medical Mutual of Maryland insures nearly 1 out 3 doctors in Maryland. However, doctors in Maryland now have many options for malpractice insurance from “A” rated carriers. Some of the top carriers trusted by Maryland physicians in 2021 include:

  • Medical Mutual

  • The Doctors Company

  • Medical Protective

  • ProAssurance

  • Aspen American Insurance Company

  • NORCAL Group

While Medical Mutual is a popular choice, many savvy private practice owners opt for coverage through The Doctors Company, NORCAL, Aspen American, ProAssuance, or MedPro. All of these carriers have a strong track record of defending Maryland doctors.

Each carrier uses its own proprietary methods of setting rates, thus rates vary from carrier-to-carrier, as well as specialty-to-specialty. However, Maryland physicians tend to buy policies with $1,000,000 a claim/$3,000,000 aggregate per year in coverage.

The 2020 Report on the Availability & Affordability of Health Care Professional Liability Insurance by the Maryland Insurance Administration classified the current malpractice insurance marketplace as affordable and stable.

Medical Malpractice Insurance Requirements for Maryland in 2021

Medical professionals in Maryland are not required to obtain malpractice insurance. However, hospitals and other healthcare facilities mandate that physicians carry medical malpractice insurance while working in their facility. Providers who do not carry malpractice insurance cannot participate in health care networks supporting preferred provider organizations, health maintenance organizations or managed care organizations. The average physician requirement for coverage by Maryland medical facilities is $1,000,000 per claim, $3,000,000 per year.

Good doctors need to protect against the possibility of a medical malpractice lawsuit. Even though physicians win most malpractice cases, the legal system seldom allows the winner to recover expenses. Because providers can spend exorbitant amounts of money and time on their legal defense and still lose a case, comprehensive medical malpractice insurance is fundamental to reducing risk in your practice.

Medical Malpractice Insurance and COVID-19 in Maryland

The Maryland Insurance Administration shared a statement regarding the future of medical malpractice insurance as related to COVID-19 in their 2020 report as follows:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has broad and yet to be fully realized implications for many lines of insurance, including medical malpractice insurance. The MIA is monitoring multiple issues related to the impact of COVID-19 on medical malpractice rates, premiums, and claims, as well as the impact on the financial strength and solvency of entities that write medical malpractice insurance in the State. As of the date of this Report, there is not sufficient data from which to draw conclusions on the impact of the pandemic on medical malpractice insurance or insurers. At this juncture, the MIA does not have a basis to believe that COVID-19 will result in any significant impact on the availability or affordability of medical malpractice insurance in this State.”

Still, with the symptoms of COVID-19 varying from patient to patient, the risk of misdiagnosis is high. It is recommended that any physician practicing medicine in Maryland during the COVID-19 public health emergency be protected by medical malpractice insurance.

Telemedicine in Maryland

The expansion of telehealth in a variety of health care settings is one of the Maryland Health Care Commission’s five strategic priorities. Their efforts include a variety of activities that:

  • provide technical support to practices and providers

  • foster peer learning about best practices

  • study the effectiveness of telehealth use cases in multiple settings

  • develop patient awareness about the option of telehealth services

The MCC provides a Telehealth Virtual Resource Center, which is a “dedicated web page with resources to assist practices with telehealth implementation. It explains best practices for virtual care delivery related to “technology solutions and vendor services, cybersecurity, payer policies, patient engagement and bedside manners, and liability”.

Since Maryland physicians are held to the same standard of care regardless of whether they are practicing via telehealth or in-person visits, it is recommended that all doctors that participate in telehealth delivery carry insurance that specifically covers telemedicine.

Malpractice Insurance Rates for Maryland Doctors

Malpractice Insurance rates in Maryland are higher than the national average. When insurance companies set rates, they consider location, specialty, and past claims history as some of the key factors in determining a rate for a physician malpractice insurance policy. Practices located in Baltimore pay more than the rest of the state. Each malpractice insurance policy is underwritten individually, but the following rates are estimates to give you an idea of costs by specialty.

Orthopedic Surgeons’ malpractice insurance premiums are in the neighborhood of $35,000 per year. Maryland internists and family doctors can expect to pay around $6,000-$9,000 per year for a policy with an “A” rated carrier providing $1,000,000/$3,000,000 limits of liability. Malpractice insurance for a Maryland Anesthesiologist would range from $9,000-$15,000. Maryland Plastic Surgeons pay around $25,000-$30,000.

To inquire about your own personalized quote, contact us.

Maryland’s Damage Caps on Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Maryland has legislation in place that caps non-economic damages. Non-economic damages include things like emotional distress, pain and suffering, depression, anxiety, and various other non-financial losses. The cap rises slightly each year as shown below:

  • For claims arising between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021, the cap will be $890,000

  • For claims arising between January 1, 2022 and December 31, 2022, the cap will be $905,000

  • For claims arising between January 1, 2023 and December 31, 2023, the cap will be $920,000

There are no caps on economic damages in the state. Economic damages include things like past and future medical bills and expenses, funeral expenses, and lost wages.

Maryland Statute of Limitations – 5 years

According to Maryland Courts & Judicial Proceedings Code section 5-109, a medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed within five years of the time that the injury was committed, or within three years of the date the injury was discovered, whichever comes first. As a physician, it’s important to keep in mind that you will need tail coverage when your claims-made policy expires.

Tail Insurance for Maryland Physicians

Tail coverage is an important aspect of the physician malpractice insurance equation. Obtaining tail coverage may be necessary when you are changing jobs. Employers typically cover their employed doctors while they work there, but the physician is usually responsible for obtaining tail coverage upon their departure. Your tail policy will cost approximately 200% of the expiring premium. For example, an orthopedic surgeon’s tail premium would be around $70,000 (assuming a $35,000 annual premium).

Since tail is a major expense, it’s important to be prepared to pay a large sum at the time you are changing jobs. MEDPLI can help you budget in advance. Contact us before you notify your employer of your resignation, so you can get head start.

When and why is tail insurance necessary?

Most malpractice insurance policies are written on a claims-made basis, which means the coverage is effective based on when the claim is actually made, not when the incident occurred. This is why you need tail coverage when your employer stops paying for your claims-made policy. Example below.

Example: Dr. Smith worked for ABC Medical Group of Maryland (fictitious name) from July of 2014 to April of 2019. The ABC Medical Group provided malpractice insurance to Dr. Smith while she was employed, but requires Dr. Smith to handle her own tail. Now she must get her own tail coverage for the period of concern (July 2014-April 2019). No claims have been made against Dr. Smith, but there is still potential that she could be sued up to 5 years after the last patient encounter, because the statute of limitations is 5 years for Maryland medical malpractice lawsuits. Dr. Smith would be wise to contact MEDPLI in her situation, because MEDPLI helps physicians cover their tail, while saving as much as 20% off of the quote provided by ABC Medical Group’s insurance carrier.

Medical Malpractice Insurance Outcomes in Maryland for 2020

TOTAL PAYOUT

The total medical malpractice payout in Maryland for 2020 was $46,361,500.

Closing Remarks

In summary, doctors in Maryland have many good options for their professional liability insurance. Not only does price matter to you, but the financial strength of your carrier is important – because your certificate of insurance is only as good as the company which stands behind you. Opt for Medical Professional Liability Insurance from an “A” rated carrier.

You can visit our get a quote page, email info@medpli.com or call 800-969-1339 to talk to a medical professional liability insurance specialist. MEDPLI helps private practices and doctors changing jobs with their claims-made and standalone tail insurance.

MEDPLI is proud to serve doctors, and we aim to make your Medical Malpractice Insurance easy for you. Whether you are a surgeon in Baltimore, an OB/GYN in Columbia, or a cardiologist in Germantown, we can help you find the best malpractice insurance fit for your needs.