Tennessee Medical Malpractice Insurance Rates for Doctors Decline Again

State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Company, the professional liability insurance company owned by doctors, has once again lowered the cost of insurance paid by Tennessee doctors.

Some highlights:

  • The rate revision represents an overall rate decrease of 8.4% at limits of $1,000,000 / $3,000,000.  This results in an average per physican rate decrease of 7.5%.
  • Rates for limits in excess of $2,000,000 have dropped 7.5%
  • A year earlier, the rate decrease was 23.1%.  In 2009 rates dropped 2.5% on average and in 2008 the decrease was 4.2%
  • a $20.1 million dollar dividend credit has been issued for policies renewing during the twelve months beginning May 15, 2011.  This has the effect of reducing rates over 5 percent.
  • The dividend for 2010 was also $20 million.  Thus, in the last two years rates have dropped over 30% and $40 million in dividends have been paid.
  • The total dividends returned to policy holders now totals $300 million in the past 35 years.
  • Rates for allergists dropped the most, down 20.6% at the $1M level.
  • Rates for OB / GYNs dropped 16.8% at the $1M level.
  • Rates increased at the $1M level only for ER docs – up 1/8%.  The dividend will still result in a net decrease in premiums for ER doctors.

So how much do doctors pay for insurance, before getting the dividend and other credits that they earn for group discounts, risk management credits, etc.?  (All rates are claims made, 5th year, at $1M / $3M)

  • Pediatrics – No Surgery (Class 1C)  $5750
  • Family Practice – No Surgery (1D)   $6873
  • Neonatology – Interventional  (1H)   $9951
  • Emergency Medicine   (2E)            $28,368
  • Cardiac Surgery  (5B)                    $35,009
  • OB /GYN  (7A)                               $37,255

Sound high?  In 2007 an OB /GYN was paying $59,572 for the same coverage.   Today, that same sum will buy him or her a $10M/ $12M policy – and he or she would still have $2500 left over for walking around money.

 Can you identify for me any other health care cost (other than technology that is used elsewhere and drugs that have gone off-patent) that has gone down in 5 years?