Ohio Doctors Buying Guide to Medical Malpractice Insurance

Ohio Medical Professional Liability Insurance Market Summary

Doctors in Ohio have some ideal options for medical malpractice insurance. Top Ohio insurers are:

  • The Doctors Company
  • Medical Protective (MedPro)
  • Aspen American Insurance Company
  • Coverys
  • ProAssurance Insurance Group
  • NORCAL

What makes these companies the best in the business for Ohioan doctors is their A-rating from A.M. Best, their robust financial strength, and their history of successfully defending Ohioan physicians.

These carriers use proprietary methodologies to set rates and there is no set standard rate across insurers for each specialty. However, Ohioans tend to buy policies with $1,000,000 a claim/$3,000,000 aggregate per year in coverage.

Medical Malpractice Insurance Requirements for Ohio in 2020

Ohio does not have a legal mandate that practicing doctors must carry medical malpractice insurance. However, if you run a private practice without malpractice insurance, prior to administering services you must provide patients with written notice of your lack of insurance coverage. Patients must sign the notice in acknowledgment.

Additionally, Ohio hospitals and other facilities typically require that doctors carry malpractice insurance in order to have privileges. It’s recommended that most doctors carry $1,000,000 a claim/$3,000,000 aggregate per year in liability coverage. High-risk specialties like surgeons and OB/GYNs will need more coverage.

Medical Malpractice Insurance and COVID-19

As of August 2020, COVID-19 cases in Ohio are on a steady rise. However, when COVID first became a threat the state took swift action that shut down bars and restaurants, banned public-gathering events, and closed state schools. This prevented the state’s healthcare system from being inundated. As of August 2020, Ohio’s healthcare centers are stable and managing the impact of the coronavirus.

The state has made changes to legal requirements for physician licensure to help with the pandemic. Until the COVID-19 public health emergency is over, the State Medical Board of Ohio is authorizing emergency licensure for out-of-state doctors who come to Ohio to assist with the COVID-19 public health emergency.

As cold and flu season approaches, it is suspected that COVID-19 cases will increase at a higher rate across the United States. Hard-hit states have needed doctors from other specialties to help with the coronavirus case load. Due to the unpredictability of COVID-19, it is advised that Ohioan doctors protect themselves with robust medical malpractice insurance.

Telemedicine in Ohio

Ohio has seen a growth in telemedicine and the state and State Medical Board of Ohio (SMBO) have made changes in the face of COVID-19 to make telemedicine more accessible. Here are the major tenets of Ohio’s telemedicine policies important for doctors to know:

  • Due to COVID-19, the SMBO has suspended the requirement for in-person visits for:
  • Prescribing controlled substances
  • Prescribing for subacute and chronic pain
  • Prescribing to patients not seen by the provider
  • Pain management
  • Medical marijuana recommendations and renewals
  • Office-based treatment for opioid addiction
  • It is expected that the SMBO will resume the requirement for in-person visits for the above services at some point. The board will provide advance notice when this occurs.
  • Providers must document how they use telemedicine and meet minimal standards of care.
  • The SMBO suspended other regulations requiring in-person visits between providers and patients.
  • Concerning rules for the patient-provider relationship, the requirement for initial in-person visits is waived.
  • Also waived is the requirement to provide written documentation of potential risks and obtain written acknowledgment before services are rendered, but practitioners are required to describe the potential risks

One permanent change to telehealth in Ohio as of July 16, 2020 was the allowance of “home health and hospice aides, private duty registered nurses and licensed practical nurses in a home health or hospice setting, dentists and behavioral health practitioners to practice telemedicine.”

Doctors treating patients via telehealth are subject to the same liabilities as they would be with in-person treatment. It is recommended that doctors carry insurance that specifically covers telemedicine.

Malpractice Insurance Rates for Ohio Doctors

Insurance rates for doctors practicing in Ohio hover around the national average and are similar to rates of neighboring states Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky.

The top insurance companies offering policies for Ohioan doctors look at location, specialty, and past claims history when they set the rates for malpractice insurance policies. Every policy is underwritten on a case-by-case basis, but the following estimates will give you an idea of costs by specialty. Reach out to a broker like MEDPLI to get an exact quote from multiple carriers.


State filed rates from 2016

Tort Reform in Ohio

In 2002, Ohio signed into law Senate Bill 281, then three years later signed into law Senate Bill 80. These bills together created significant tort reform that implemented damage caps for non-economic damages and made it a requirement that plaintiffs in medical malpractice lawsuits have an affidavit of merit from an expert witness who states that the claim is legitimate.

Ohio’s Damage Caps on Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Ohio has caps damages for non-economic injuries. The caps are:

  • $250,000 per plaintiff or 3 times the economic damages, whichever is higher
  • The maximum is $350,000 per plaintiff and $500,000 per occurrence
  • If a plaintiff’s injuries are found to be “catastrophic” the damage limit is set at $500,000 per individual and $1 million per occurrence. Under Ohio law, catastrophic injuries are those that involve:
  • Permanent and substantial physical deformity
  • Loss of use of a limb
  • Loss of a bodily organ system
  • Permanent physical injury that prevents self-care

There is no limit on economic damages, which can include the cost of medical bills, future medical costs, and the future cost of lost wages.

Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims

Under Ohio law, a medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed within one year from the later of one of the following dates:

  • The date when the injury occurred;
  • The date when the injury was first discovered, or
  • The last date of treatment with the medical provider that caused the injury

There are exceptions to this rule. If within the one-year limitations period the injured party notifies the medical professional or institution that he or she is considering bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit, they have an additional 180 days to file after the date of the notice.

Tail Insurance in Ohio

If you are a physician practicing in Ohio with a claims-made policy and you DON’T have Prior Acts insurance (also known as Nose Coverage), having tail insurance 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, 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 and before the policy with your new employer kicks in. Tail insurance covers you during that interim time. Read more about tail malpractice insurance.

Medical Malpractice Insurance Outcomes in Ohio for 2019

TOTAL PAYOUT

The total medical malpractice payout in Ohio for 2019 was $69,684,250.



Closing Remarks

According to estimates from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, by 2025 Ohio is projected to have a doctor shortage. Currently, 81 out of the 88 counties in Ohio have a partial or full designation as Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA). Shortages are most prominent for dental care, primary care, and mental health. According to Weatherby Healthcare, Ohio is one of the top-earning states for physicians overall, with doctors earning an average $326,000 salary.

If you are a surgeon in Cleveland, an oncologist in Columbus, or an OB/GYN in Cincinnati and looking for medical malpractice insurance, reach out to MEDPLI. We’ll help you obtain coverage from an A-rated carrier wherever you are in Ohio.

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