Why Orthopedic Surgeons Need Tail Insurance

Orthopedic surgery is a high-risk specialty, making it subject to a high amount of malpractice claims. Independent studies have found that orthopedic surgeons have one of the highest chances of facing a medical malpractice lawsuit over the lifetime of their practice. Tail insurance protects orthopedic surgeons for potential malpractice claims that have not yet been made against them.

How Much is Tail Insurance for Orthopedic Surgeons?

Because surgical procedures are considered at high risk of malpractice lawsuits, orthopedic surgeons pay a significant amount for medical malpractice insurance premiums, although premiums do vary by state. Combine this with a long exposure period and tail insurance policies for orthopedic surgeons can be particularly expensive.

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Tail insurance generally costs around 200-250% of your expiring claims-made premium. For example, if an orthopedic surgeon pays $30,000 per year for a claims-made premium, the tail cost would be estimated at $60,000. Keep in mind that tail insurance premiums are usually due in full within 30 days of the last day of coverage under your current claims-made policy.

Examples of approximate tail costs for orthopedic surgeons:

City State Tail Estimate Ortho – No Spine Tail Estimate Ortho – With Spine
Birmingham AL $50,000 $62,500
Little Rock AR $50,000 $62,500
Phoenix AZ $70,000 $87,500
Los Angeles CA $50,000 $62,500
Denver CO $80,000 $100,000
Bridgeport CT $70,000 $87,500
Wilmington DE $80,000 $100,000
Washington DC $130,000 $162,500
Miami FL $120,000 $150,000
Miami FL $90,000 $112,500
Atlanta GA $70,000 $87,500
Honolulu HI $80,000 $100,000
Des Moines IA $40,000 $50,000
Boise ID $30,000 $37,500
Chicago IL $150,000 $187,500
Wichita KS $40,000 $50,000
Louisville KY $60,000 $75,000
Indianapolis IN $40,000 $50,000
New Orleans LA $40,000 $50,000
Boston MA $70,000 $87,500
Baltimore MD $100,000 $125,000
Portland ME $50,000 $62,500
Detroit MI $100,000 $125,000
St. Louis MO $80,000 $100,000
Minneapolis MN $30,000 $37,500
Jackson MS $90,000 $112,500
Billings MT $100,000 $125,000
Charlotte NC $50,000 $62,500
Fargo ND $30,000 $37,500
Omaha NE $30,000 $37,500
Manchester NH $80,000 $100,000
Albuquerque NM $50,000 $62,500
Newark NJ $90,000 $112,500
Las Vegas NV $80,000 $100,000
Manhattan, NY NY $230,000 $287,500
Columbus OH $80,000 $100,000
Oklahoma City OK $70,000 $87,500
Portland OR $40,000 $50,000
Philadelphia PA $80,000 $100,000
Providence RI $60,000 $75,000
Charleston SC $60,000 $75,000
Nashville TN $60,000 $75,000
Houston TX $60,000 $75,000
Salt Lake City UT $60,000 $75,000
Burlington VT $40,000 $50,000
Seattle WA $60,000 $75,000
Virginia Beach VA $60,000 $75,000
Charleston WV $100,000 $125,000
Cheyenne WY $80,000 $100,000

Tail Insurance for Orthopedic Surgeons Changing Jobs

If you are considering changing jobs, one of the first things you should do is review your current insurance program and your options with an independent medical malpractice insurance broker.

No matter where you practice – whether you are in private practice or hospital employed – orthopedic surgeons have the ability to choose the carrier they prefer as well as the coverage terms that best suit them.

When you work at a hospital, they choose the insurance carrier they believe is best for them – which is rarely the best for the orthopedic surgeon working there. An independent broker like MEDPLI delivers all of your tail insurance options from a wide range of carriers, so you can ensure your tail is properly covered without paying the exorbitant price of the hospital-provided policy.

Tail Insurance Considerations for Orthopedic Surgeons Changing Focus

Liability insurance companies classify orthopedic surgeons into three separate risk categories for orthopedic surgery. These are:

  • Orthopedic Surgery – With Spine

  • Orthopedic Surgery – No Spine

  • Orthopedics – No Surgery

Medical malpractice insurance for orthopedic surgery with spine is associated with the highest risk and subsequently has the highest premium charge. Towards the end of their careers, many spine surgeons elect to switch their focus to non-spine orthopedic surgery. When a physician switches to orthopedic surgery – no spine, their current medical malpractice insurance carrier needs to continue to cover the spine surgery in the physician’s prior acts.

If an orthopedist wants to switch carriers, the new carrier will need to cover the orthopedic surgeon back to the retroactive date listed on the physician’s current declarations page or certificate of insurance (the first date of employment with your last employer), even if they are no longer performing surgery.

To learn more about tail insurance, read our post on 3 Things Doctors Need to Check When Buying Medical Malpractice Tail Insurance or take a look at our Tail Insurance Buying Guide. If you’re ready to get started, contact us about your specific insurance needs or use our Tail Insurance Estimator tool below to get a quick quote.

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