Connecticut Medical Professional Liability Insurance Market Summary
Doctors in Connecticut have many good options for medical liability insurance. The major insurers are:
- Aspen American Insurance Company
These companies are considered the best insurers in Connecticut because of their A-rating from A.M. Best and their proven ability to provide strong legal and financial support for physicians. These carriers use proprietary methodologies to set rates and there is no set standard rate across insurers for each specialty.
Historically, providers in Connecticut witnessed a significant increase in malpractice premiums and claims amounts in the mid-1990s through the 2000s, with awards in malpractice cases increasing 176 percent in those ten years. Meanwhile, insurers fled the state medical liability insurance market, making reasonably priced options even more difficult to find while physicians faced ever growing requirements for increased liability coverage.
Medical Malpractice Insurance Requirements for Connecticut in 2020
Connecticut law requires individuals that are licensed and providing direct care to patients to maintain medical malpractice insurance or another indemnity against liability, with required minimum coverage amounts for claims against injury or death set at $500,000 per claim and $1,500,000 in aggregate.
Most Connecticut hospitals insist their providers carry coverage with higher limits. The average physician requirement for coverage by Connecticut medical facilities is $1,000,000 per claim, $4,000,000 per year. The Connecticut Medical Examining Board may “restrict, suspend, revoke, limit the right to practice or take action” if practitioners fail to maintain adequate insurance coverage.
Medical Malpractice Insurance and COVID-19 in Connecticut
Although Governor Ned Lamont declared a state of emergency and closed public spaces and schools two days after the first resident tested positive in early March, COVID-19 cases continued to climb in Connecticut. Early on, the state’s large population density and its proximity to New York (a city hit especially hard by COVID-19 and a place to which many Connecticut residents commute) were thought to be two contributing factors to the rise in cases. In addition, a large proportion of the state’s residents are 65 and older, making its population more vulnerable.
Now the state is experiencing an increase in positive cases among the young, and the reopening of schools and college campuses in the fall of 2020 is predicted to contribute to the disproportionately high rate of cases among young people. Despite this uptick, the state announced that it is loosening some public restrictions, including an allowance to increase indoor dining capacity to 75% at restaurants in early October 2020.
These changing factors, combined with the unpredictability of the rate of COVID-19, make it imperative that Connecticut physicians move swiftly to protect themselves with medical malpractice insurance.
Telemedicine in Connecticut
Motivated by increased demand for telehealth services due to COVID-19, Connecticut lawmakers recently passed a unanimous bill aimed to expand telehealth access to patients and providers. Approved through March 2021, the new bill:
- Mandates reimbursement parity for telemedicine services for private insurance, Medicaid, and state employee health plans
- Includes measures to prevent insurers from seeking a reduction in the amount of reimbursements from providers for telehealth services
- Expands coverage to a wider variety of specialized healthcare providers such as dentists, art and music therapists, and rehabilitation providers in virtually any location
- Places less restrictions on platforms providers use to provide telemedicine, allowing for audio-only phone visits and audio-visual resources like Skype and Facetime
- Allows pharmacies to transfer unfilled prescriptions to other pharmacies
Lawmakers say they will use this time to study the long-term effects of expanding telehealth services and use this information to guide future regulations.
Statewide, providers report that remote office visits have replaced many in-person encounters to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Moving forward, telemedicine visits are expected to become normal for routine follow ups and minor health issues. Since doctors have the same liability with telemedicine visits as they do with face to face visits, it is recommended that doctors carry insurance that specifically covers telemedicine.
Malpractice Insurance Rates for Connecticut Doctors
Rates continue to be higher than average in Connecticut, but securing coverage is necessary. As recently as 2012, a survey of Connecticut providers found that “39 percent of physician-respondents had been personally involved in a medical malpractice case, and 73 percent of respondents said they were concerned or very concerned about medical malpractice.”
Note that insurance companies in Connecticut look at many factors when underwriting a policy for a doctor. Factors include location, specialty, and the doctor’s claims history.
Though every policy is underwritten by case, the following estimates will give you an idea of costs by specialty in Connecticut. Reach out to a broker like MEDPLI to get an exact quote from multiple carriers.
State filed rates from 2016
Tort Reform in Connecticut
Connecticut has not enacted any major tort reform legislation since 1987, when the state decided that claimants “must prove by a preponderance of evidence that the health care provider’s alleged actions breached the prevailing standard of care for such a health care provider” and that “a person injured because of medical malpractice may recover compensatory damages, including lost earnings, out-of-pocket expenses, and pain and suffering.”
Tort reform remains a hot button issue in Connecticut, and minor changes are made to the legislation as every few years someone tries to revive the tort reform debate.
Connecticut’s Damage Caps on Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Connecticut doesn’t currently have a cap on the economic or non-economic damages that victims of medical malpractice can seek from lawsuits and injury claims. In some cases, punitive damages can also be rewarded.
Notably, the Connecticut State Medical Society promotes supporting caps on damages and protecting the personal assets of physicians in liability cases as some of its most important legislative goals for Connecticut physicians.
Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims
Statute of Limitations laws for Connecticut say:
- Under state law, medical malpractice suits must be filed within two years of the date of the injury
- The two-year period may begin when the person discovers the injury, or “should have discovered it given a reasonable person standard”.
- Regardless, personal injury suits cannot be filed more than three years from the date of the injury unless the injured person “can successfully allege that the physician had a continuing duty to warn him about the malpractice and its consequence” or if they maintained an ongoing treatment relationship with the provider.
- Unlike many other states, Connecticut does not have a separate statute of limitations for minors.
Tail Insurance in Connecticut
If you are a physician practicing in Connecticut with a claims-made policy and you DON’T have Prior Acts insurance (also known as Nose Coverage), having a tail insurance policy will ensure you’re protected if you change jobs. Tail insurance covers the gap between your retroactive date with your former employer to your start date with your new employer. To get the best rates on tail insurance in Connecticut, contact a broker before you notify your employer of your resignation.
When and why is tail insurance necessary?
When a doctor leaves an employer, their insurance coverage with that employer ends on the last day of employment. Since most malpractice insurance policies are underwritten on a claims-made basis, you will be exposed to a lawsuit if someone files a claim against you after you leave your employer, without tail coverage. Tail insurance covers you from your retroactive date up to the last day the policy is in effect – with the ability to report claims years after the last day. Read more about tail malpractice insurance.
Medical Malpractice Insurance Outcomes in Connecticut for 2019
The total medical malpractice payout in Connecticut for 2019 was $38,263,250.
Despite being ranked as one of the best places to practice medicine by Medscape in 2017, Connecticut is currently experiencing a shortage of providers, making the job market excellent for doctors looking for jobs in the state. Although home to outstanding medical schools such as Yale and the University of Connecticut, problems such as high taxes and insurance premiums and an inefficient regulatory system have younger providers seeking licensure in other states. One-third of the providers in the state are over the age of sixty, and health care systems are scrambling to replace retirees. Despite these barriers, many established providers report that its proximity to New York City, a relatively healthy population, low crime rate, and high quality of life are reasons to remain and practice in the state.
MEDPLI helps doctors from all specialties. Whether you are a pediatrician in Bridgeport, an OB/GYN in New Haven, or an anesthesiologist in Stamford, we can help you find medical malpractice insurance. To get coverage from an A-rated carrier, contact us by requesting a quote.