Orthopedic Surgeons Need Tail Insurance To Protect Against Future Malpractice Claims

With people in today’s aging population living longer and staying active, it’s no surprise that over 1 million knee and hip replacements are performed annually. Tie in the growing need for sports medicine and hand surgery specialists, and it’s no wonder that orthopedic surgeons are among the most in-demand and recruited specialists in the U.S.

Will you be joining a new hospital or medical group soon – or opening your own practice? Before you leave your current employer, you need to obtain Extended Reporting Period (ERP) coverage, or medical malpractice “tail” insurance.

Has your current employer offered you the option to buy tail insurance? Before you accept, be aware that the premium cost is typically around 200% – 250% of the premium cost of your expiring claims-made medical malpractice policy. But MEDPLI has a better option. A MEDPLI malpractice insurance insurance broker will work with you to save an average of 20% on a standalone tail policy that is right for your orthopedic specialty and practice location.

What is Tail Insurance?

Your employer-provided malpractice policy ends on your last day of work. Tail insurance provided by “A” rated carriers through MEDPLI is a standalone policy that protects you from liability for any future malpractice claims made on incidents that occurred during the time of your previous employment. Coverage is retroactive for any claims made on incidents occurring from the first date of work with your former employer. Tail insurance is necessary only if your previous policy was a form of claims-made malpractice insurance.

Why Orthopedic Surgeons Need Tail Insurance

When you change jobs or open a private practice, you need a tail insurance policy to cover you in a lawsuit if a patient you treated during your former employment files a claim against you. It’s best to have tail insurance in place before your current malpractice policy expires, so you will be sure you have coverage for any unexpected claims after you leave your job.

Also, the complexity of orthopedic surgeries can result in possibly serious or life-threatening patient injuries and complications – and increase your risk of exposure to malpractice suits. Potentially long-term complications may trigger a malpractice claim from a former patient months or years after you leave employment. For example, tail insurance would provide coverage for claims such as:

  • Implants inserted incorrectly
  • Failure of implant components
  • Postoperative implant or prosthesis infections
  • Neurovascular injury to nerves or blood vessels around the knee
  • Sciatic nerve injury in hip replacements
  • Failure to achieve pain relief

The fact is that practicing without tail insurance puts you at a high risk of personal financial loss if a claim is made against you. Orthopedists ranked third among the top 10 surgical specialists most likely to be sued, according to the Medscape Orthopedist Malpractice Report 2021. Also, 81% of the orthopedists and orthopedic surgeons who responded to the Medscape survey indicated that they have been sued for malpractice at least once in their careers.

How Tail Insurance Provides Liability Protection

Tail insurance protects orthopedic surgeons for liability in malpractice claims for incidents which occurred during previous employment, but the patient does not pursue a lawsuit until months or years later. If a former patient does sue for malpractice – and only if you have tail insurance – your tail policy would cover all legal fees and monetary awards at trial, and your policy carrier would provide your legal defense.

Also, be aware of the statues of limitations for filing malpractice claims in the state where you formerly worked, or still work. Your MEDPLI malpractice insurance insurance broker will work with you to find the right tail policy and coverage to fit the risk factors of your orthopedic specialty and statutes of limitations which vary from state to state.

How MEDPLI Helps You Save On Tail Insurance

Malpractice insurance premiums are increasing in 2023, and that means employer provided tail insurance premiums will be higher, as well. Your MEDPLI insurance broker can help you save 20% on average on standalone tail policies, plus:

  • Save you time, effort, and money by finding the right standalone tail insurance policy and rates to cover the unique malpractice risks and requirements of your specialty.
  • Obtain tail policies from “A” rated malpractice insurance carriers known for their excellent track record in defending orthopedic surgeons against claims, as well as for the company’s business and financial stability.
  • Provide you with all viable standalone tail insurance options from a wide range of carriers as an alternative to exorbitantly priced employer or hospital-provided policies.

Moving to a new hospital or private practice? Get a free tail insurance evaluation from MEDPLI now.

Call today and talk to a MEDPLI insurance broker about your standalone tail insurance needs. Find out how you can save 20% on tail policy rates – and how to get the best protection against malpractice claims from your previous employment.

Call us at 800-969-1339, or fill out a contact request form.