NJ Considering Law to Prevent Medmal Insurers from Raising MedMal Insurance Rates Unless Doctor found Guilty
January 19, 2011by
side note: Here is some interesting tort refrom legislation winding its way through the New Jersey state assembly. With newly elected Gov. Chris Christie at the helm, I wouldn't be surprised to see this bill get renewed attention. A longstanding bill slowly making its way through the New Jersey legislature urges reform of tort laws that some say are forcing qualified physicians to leave the state. The legislation, Assembly Bill A-1982, aims to limit the ability of medical malpractice insurers to raise premiums on doctors unless they are actually found guilty of medical malpractice. Current law allows a physician's medical malpractice insurer to increase the cost of insurance coverage at the simple filing of a malpractice action; no finding of wrongdoing is actually required. This has many in the medical community—including representatives of the Medical Society of New Jersey, the New Jersey Chapter of the American College of Surgeons and the Monmouth-Ocean Medical Society—viewing the promise of increased insurance premiums as having a chilling effect upon the medical community throughout the state. Proponents of the law argue that giving physicians the opportunity to defend themselves against frivolous claims without suffering unwarranted consequences will raise the bar for health treatment for people across New Jersey by stopping the migration of some of New Jersey’s most highly qualified doctors to neighboring states with more doctor-friendly insurance practices. Supporters also point to the ever-increasing expenses associated with “defensive medicine” as inflating the cost of medical care for everyone, and they argue that the reforms proffered by A-1982 will help make treatment more affordable across the board.