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Governor Rendell Says Medical Malpractice Insurance Continues to Show Signs of Significant Improvement
Date:4/23/2009

ice litigation, which began in 2003, was not a temporary correction, but a sustained and stable response to the procedural rule changes adopted by the Supreme Court and the statutory changes enacted by the General Assembly. I wholeheartedly agree with his assessment."

The Governor said that claims payments from Mcare dropped for the fifth straight year in 2008 and are more than 50 percent less than when he took office in 2003. In 2008, Mcare paid approximately $174 million in claims.

He also pointed to the declining cost of malpractice insurance and its availability as signs of improvement. Over the past three years, the two largest commercial medical malpractice insurers, PMSLIC and MedPro, have either decreased their base premiums or kept them flat each year.

Those reductions are in sharp contrast to 2002, when PMSLIC increased its rates an average of 40 percent and Med Pro 45 percent and to 2003, when PMSLIC increased rates another 54 percent and MedPro an additional 16 percent.

In addition, the Pennsylvania Joint Underwriter Association, the insurer of last resort, decreased rates an average 4.4 percent from 2008. Currently, fewer than 800 health care providers are using the JUA, which is half the number reported in 2003. That means doctors who were previously insured by the JUA have been able to find coverage in the private market.

There are other indications of success resulting from the reforms, such as renewed interest by companies that want to sell medical malpractice insurance in Pennsylvania. Fifty-seven newly licensed entities are writing medical malpractice coverage since April of 2002, giving doctors greater choice of insurers.

According to Mcare, the number of physicians for whom medical malpractice coverage was purchased increased from 2000 through 2009. More than 37,000 physicians are currently reporting that they have medical malpractice coverage, which is
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor
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