Malpractice Premiums-Location, Location

Physician's Money DigestNovember30 2003
Volume 10
Issue 22

If you're a general surgeon, internist, or OB/GYN physician practicing in the Miami, Fla, area, you're paying the highest malpractice premiums in the country for those specialties, according to the "Medical Liability Monitor" ( 2003 rate survey. OB/GYN physicians in Dade County, Fla, pay $249,196 a year for malpractice coverage, a 24% increase over last year's premiums. That's almost $100,000 a year more than OB/GYN physicians in the next highest area, Wayne County, Mich, who pay $154,165 for a year's worth of coverage.

General surgeons fare almost as badly in Dade County, paying $226,542 a year, a 30% boost from last year's premiums. In Wayne County, general surgeons pay the same $154,165 annual premium that OB/GYN physicians pay. Although malpractice premiums for internists in the Miami area are much lower than for the other 2 specialties, they are still the highest in the nation, at $65,697 a year, a 17% increase over last year's rates. Wayne County, where internists pay $50,063 a year for malpractice protection, again comes in second on the list.

Nationwide, premium adjustments for internists, general surgeons, and OB/GYN physicians ranged from a 144% increase to a 16% decrease. Only 2.3% saw lower rates, however, although 20.3% saw no changes in their premium. The vast majority—almost two thirds—saw premium increases of 10% or more, with about 6% being hit with rates that were higher by 50% or more.

Internists in search of malpractice insurance relief might look into Nebraska, where annual premiums are just $2786. For OB/GYN physicians, malpractice Nirvana may be in South Dakota, where premiums are just $14,662, less than 6% of what Miami doctors are shelling out every year. General surgeons can get the cheapest malpractice coverage in Minnesota, where premiums are $8717, less than 4% of the coverage cost in Miami.

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