Wall Street Journal Examines Physicians Who Practice Without Malpractice Insurance
The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday examined the "growing number" of physicians that are practicing medicine without malpractice insurance, known as "going bare." Doctors who go without malpractice insurance are self-insured and are personally responsible for judgments, settlements and legal fees if they are sued, possibly resulting in less money for a patient that is suing for malpractice, the Journal reports. It is unknown how many doctors nationally are without malpractice insurance, and many states do not require doctors to have malpractice insurance to practice. In Florida, which "consistently has some of the highest malpractice insurance rates in the country," 5% of physicians are self-insured, up from 4% last year, and in Miami-Dade County, 20% are self-insured, the Journal reports. The American Medical Association in December 2002 eliminated its malpractice insurance policy, which recommended that physicians carry "sufficient malpractice insurance to protect themselves and their patients"; the AMA now "leave[s] the decision to doctors," according to the Journal. Marc Singer, of Singer Xenos Wealth Management, says that patients who sue self-insured doctors for malpractice "often settle for less and do so more quickly" because a doctor can file for bankruptcy, according to the Journal (Silverman, Wall Street Journal, 1/28).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.