Anesthesiologist? You're At Risk
Anesthesiologist insurance is a form of business insurance protection specifically designed for doctors that specialize in perioperative medicine and the use of anesthetics during medical procedures. Like any licensed physician, you must have malpractice coverage. These types of policies are unique to the profession, which means you will specifically need anesthesiologist malpractice insurance to protect yourself from legal claims.
Today, the cost of anesthesiologist malpractice insurance is actually lower than it was in the past. It might be the right time to search for insurance and compare rates from a few carriers.
Anesthesiologist Insurance Factors
Before the development of monitoring improvements during the 1980s, anesthesiologist malpractice insurance rates were considerably higher than they are today.
- The "pulse oximeter" and "end-tidal carbon dioxide monitor" have significantly reduced brain and heart oxygen deprivation issues, which led to many malpractice cases.
- In the 1980s, surgical anesthesia claims represented 80% of all anesthesia malpractice claims. They are now less than 65%.
- In 1985, the average anesthesia malpractice insurance premium was over $36,000 per year. In 2009, it was just over $21,000, which is inflation-adjusted into 2008 dollars.
- The risk of a malpractice lawsuit in 2009 was 7% for anesthesiologists, compared to the extremes of neurosurgeons at 19.1% and psychiatrists at 2.6%.
- In 1973, anesthesia related deaths were approximately 1 in 1500. Today, that number is 1 in 200,000.
In addition to monitoring improvements, education for today's anesthesiologists has also improved to a significant extent. These have combined to create a more favorable landscape for anesthesiologist malpractice insurance costs.
How Is Anesthesiologist Insurance Cost Determined?
The specifics that insurance companies use to determine the price of anesthesiologist insurance vary from company to company. Most of the cost is determined by the likelihood of a malpractice lawsuit.
Here are the most important determinants of pricing:
- Practice location: different states have different laws and requirements.
- Whether or not you currently have anesthesia malpractice insurance.
- Whether the practice is full time or part time.
- Whether there any existing claims to be settled.
- Whether you are a member of a medical group.
- Whether you work with physicians performing major or minor surgery.
- The policy limits you choose.
Your policy limits are the most important when it comes to pricing. Typical policy limits in most states are $1 million per occurrence, and $3 million as an annual aggregate. Some states and hospital systems are now requiring increases to $2 million/$6 million. However, many insurance companies do not offer those limits.
How to Find the Best Anesthesiologist Malpractice Insurance
While anesthesiologists are among the highest paid professionals in the United States, they tend to spend a fortune on the education required to attain that position. Fortunately, anesthesiologist insurance costs have been relatively stable since 2003 and are lower than the rates of the 1970s and 80s. However, your particular needs many vary, along with your costs. Rates for anesthesiologist insurance can vary sometimes by as much as four to five times the lowest cost quotes. For this reason, it's important to make sure you're comparing similar coverage each time you request a quote.
Doctors who want to get the very best coverage possible at the lowest rates need to shop around with a multitude of insurance companies before making a decision. When you do this research, you can rest assured that you're making a smart choice that can help your bottom line and keep your practice safe.
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