Illinois Needs Bariatric Surgeons Across the State

Illinois needs bariatric surgeons not only in the metropolitan Chicago area, but also in less populated rural areas in the southern part of the state. With 34.1% of adult residents having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, Illinois ranks 26 among U.S. states for prevalence of obesity, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Weight loss surgeries can be life-saving and life-changing for adults with obesity, but complex bariatric procedures carry a high risk of serious intraoperative patient injuries and post-operative complications.

That’s why Illinois bariatric surgeons need robust medical malpractice insurance.

As your only trusted broker, MEDPLI will help you find the right coverage at the best rate in Illinois.

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If you are an Illinois bariatric surgeon in private practice, or planning to open a new practice in Illinois, use this guide prepared by independent MEDPLI insurance brokers to give you a concise overview of medical malpractice insurance. Then contact a MEDPLI insurance broker to discuss your coverage needs and get a quote.

Medical Malpractice Insurance Requirements for Illinois Bariatric Surgeons

Illinois law does not require bariatric surgeons to carry medical malpractice insurance to practice in the state. The standard limits of liability in Illinois are $1,000,000 Each Claim / $3,000,000 Aggregate per year in coverage.

However, bariatric surgery is considered a high-risk specialty, so you will need more coverage to be adequately protected if sued for malpractice.

MEDPLI strongly recommends securing coverage from an A-rated carrier as the most cost-effective way to protect against devastating financial loss if you are sued for malpractice in Illinois. As an independent broker, we specialize in medical malpractice insurance for bariatric surgeons. We work for you to find the best policy at a great price.

Cost of Medical Malpractice Insurance for Illinois Bariatric Surgeons

Each insurance carrier uses its own proprietary methods of setting the cost of medical malpractice insurance for bariatric surgeons. Carriers consider factors such as practice location, surgical specialty, and past claims history.

In Illinois, the areas that typically carry the highest rates are: Chicago (Cook County); Madison and St. Clair Counties (Metro East Illinois counties adjacent to the Greater St. Louis, MO, area).

The following are approximate medical malpractice insurance premium rates for bariatric surgeons across all Illinois areas:

 Specialty Approximate Claims Made Rate Approximate Tail Rate Approximate Occurrence Rate
Bariatric Surgery $110,000 $220,000 $140,000

*Using the IL standard limits of $1,000,000 Each Claim / $3,000,000 Aggregate per year in coverage

Types of Professional Liability Insurance for Illinois Bariatric Surgeons

Here is an brief overview of the three most common types of medical malpractice insurance in Illinois:

1. Claims Made Insurance

Claims-made malpractice insurance provides coverage if the policy is in effect both when the incident took place AND when the claim is filed. If a claim is filed after the end of the policy date, the claim is NOT covered. With a claims-made policy, you need tail malpractice insurance, which is a separately purchased insurance policy or endorsement, to make sure you have full protection.

2. Occurrence Insurance

Occurrence malpractice insurance provides coverage for incidents that occurred during the policy year, regardless of when a claim is reported to the carrier. Occurrence policies are more costly at the start of the policy, but the rate generally stays the same for the length of the policy, and there is no need for tail coverage when the policy ends.

3. Tail Insurance

Since most malpractice insurance policies are underwritten on a claims-made basis, you will be exposed to a lawsuit if a former patient files a claim against you and you do not secure tail coverage. When you are preparing to leave your employer, you should seek tail coverage options with an independent broker like MEDPLI. Tail insurance covers you for a specific time period. The new employer’s policy is not going to cover you for prior acts of a former practice, hence tail coverage is needed.

Reach out to an experienced MEDPLI insurance broker who will get to work for you to find a tail policy at a great price.

Let a MEDPLI Broker Help You Choose the Best Policy for Your Practice

Every surgeon’s situation is unique, so we recommend a conversation with a MEDPLI insurance broker to the discuss the unique needs of your Illinois practice.

Your MEDPLI insurance broker will explain the benefits and limitations of each type of medical malpractice insurance available in your state to ensure you get the right type and amount of coverage for your bariatric specialty.

A Rated Illinois Medical Malpractice Insurance Carriers

Get Quotes from A-Rated Carriers Serving Illinois Bariatric Surgeons

MEDPLI insurance brokers will obtain quotes from medical malpractice insurance from carriers rated “A” by A.M. Best for their long-term financial solvency and robust legal support of policyholders. The top carriers in Illinois include:

  • The Doctors Company


  • MedPro Group

  • ProAssurance

  • NORCAL Group (A Part of ProAssurance)

Why Bariatric Surgeons Are Classified as High Risk by Medical Malpractice Insurance Companies

Medical malpractice insurance underwriters classify bariatric surgery as a high-risk specialty because of the surgical side-effects and complications that commonly lead to allegations of malpractice. Therefore, the cost of medical malpractice insurance will be higher for bariatric surgeons compared to other lower-risk specialties.

Top Reasons Why Georgia Bariatric Surgeons Are Sued

A review of malpractice claims data by “A” rated malpractice insurance carrier MedPro Group found that improper surgical performance, poor management of surgical patients, diagnostic errors, and poor doctor/patient communication contributed to the risks of bariatric surgery, including:

  • Infection

  • Hernia

  • Hemorrhage

  • Bowel obstructions

  • Gastritis

  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea

  • Anastomotic strictures, ulcers, and leaks

  • Deficiencies and poor absorption of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients

And according to a 2022 closed claim registry report by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), Illinois bariatric surgeons have been cited for malpractice for complications resulting from the following allegations:

  • Lack of expertise to properly perform gastric bypass procedures

  • Failure to properly screen patients to ensure good candidates for gastric bypass

  • Operating on poor candidates for surgery

Bariatric surgeons can reduce their risk of a malpractice lawsuit by implementing a comprehensive risk management strategy. For tips on fine-tuning your risk management strategy, check out our Bariatrics Surgeon’s Guide To Managing Risk.

Illinois’s Medical Malpractice Insurance Legislation

Consulting with a MEDPLI insurance broker who understands the complexities of Illinois’s medical malpractice laws will ensure that your bariatric practice is protected with the right amount of coverage.

Illinois’s Damage Caps on Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Illinois currently has no limit on compensation for economic and non-economic patient injuries as a result of medical malpractice. However, Illinois does not allow rewards for punitive damages in medical malpractice lawsuits.

Illinois’s Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims

According to state law, conditions for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Illinois are:

  • Within two (2) years from the date the patient knew or should have known of the injury

  • llinois law prohibits patients from bringing a lawsuit more than four (4) years after the medically negligent act occurred

  • There is a special statute of limitations for patients who are minors at the time the medical malpractice occurred. Anyone under the age of 18 has up to eight (8) years to file a lawsuit, as long as the suit is filed before the patient turns 22.

Bariatric Surgeon Medical Malpractice Outcomes in Illinois

With no cap on economic damages and non-economic damages, bariatric surgeons in Illinois are more vulnerable to personal financial loss if sued.

In 2022, the total medical malpractice payout in Illinois was $148,628,000.

The following examples of Illinois medical malpractice lawsuits found in favor of the plaintiff, or paid as a settlement, show the critical need for bariatric surgeons to have more than adequate liability coverage:

Federal Jury Awards $9.4 Million in Bariatric Surgery Case

An Illinois woman sued two bariatric surgeons for malpractice in a lawsuit that alleged that she was prescribed the wrong anti-coagulation drug after bariatric surgery. That error led to internal bleeding, poor blood flow to the brain, and ultimately brain damage. She requires 24/7 care and is confined to a wheelchair. Previously, the patient had received a $5 million settlement from the hospital where the surgery was performed. She won her case at trial against the surgeons and was awarded $9.4 million by the federal medical malpractice jury.

Bariatric Surgery Case Settled for $2.4 Million

A female patient died after undergoing bariatric surgery. It was alleged that improper performance of the Roux en-Y stapling procedure caused internal bleeding and coma, leading to the patient’s death. The surgeon and the hospital settled with the patient’s family for $2.4 million instead of going to trial.

Even the Best Bariatric Surgeons In Illinois Need Protection From Malpractice Lawsuits

Most surgeons face at least one medical malpractice lawsuit brought forth by a patient throughout their career, so it’s essential to be covered when it happens to you. In addition to damages awarded to the plaintiff, having medical malpractice insurance assures that your legal costs will be covered regardless of whether the case is won or lost.

How MEDPLI Brokers Help Bariatric Surgeons Save Time and Money on Medical Malpractice Insurance

Working with MEDPLI as your trusted broker takes the guesswork and effort out of trying to get the right coverage at the best rate on your own. We help you save time and money by:

  • Researching all of your best coverage, rate, and “A” rated carrier options that specifically meet the requirements of your bariatric specialty and practice location in Illinois.

  • Asking about any policy discounts offered for a new practice, medical association members, or physicians with no previous claims, for example. Some of our carrier partners offer discounts for risk management and provide CMEs.

  • Researching flexible payment options offered by carriers to best fit the budget for your practice.

  • Reviewing and consulting with you on all quotes, payment options, and possible discounts to help you make the best choice of coverage and rate for your needs.

MEDPLI insurance brokers are ready to help you navigate the complexities of llinois’s medical malpractice laws and secure the right amount of coverage for your bariatric surgical practice. From submitting your application, obtaining the best rates for new policies and renewals from “A” rated carriers and more, MEDPLI is the only medical malpractice insurance broker you’ll ever need.