Ohio medical malpractice premiums keep dropping

Medical malpractice premiums in Ohio have continued to fall for the fourth straight year, a trend which both state regulators and insurers attribute to a mix of policy changes, liability limits and safety initiatives.

Through the early part of the decade, malpractice rates in Ohio had climbed an average 20 percent or more, with one medical malpractice company seeing an 88 percent increase.

However, there were roughly 20 changes to state law from 2002 to 2005, including caps on jury awards for non-economic damages, tougher time limits for bringing claims and legal protections for doctors' statements of empathy after adverse outcomes ("I'm sorry" protections). Meanwhile, starting in 2005 the state started requiring plans to file financial reports annually and institute more responsive rate-setting processes. Now, rates are falling and new carriers are entering the market, according to state officials.

That being said, rates are still higher than they were in 2003, according to Susan Stanfield, CEO of OHA Insurance Solutions Inc., a med mal insurer formed in 2003 by the Ohio Hospital Association. Seems like you can't put the price inflation genie back in the bottle completely.

To learn more about this trend:
- read this Business First of Columbus piece

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