LAWMAKER SEEKS MED-MAL RATE CONTROLS:

March 7, 2005

Rhode Island Rep. Fausto C. Anguilla (D-Dist. 68, Bristol, Warren) has introduced legislation aimed at reining in rising malpractice insurance premiums. His bill, the Fair Insurance Act of 2005, would prohibit insurers from charging Rhode Island doctors fees that it doesn’t charge doctors in other states, and would require expanded public disclosure of rates and policies.
“An insurance company should not be raising the premiums of doctors with good records of practicing safe medicine,” Anguilla said.

Rhode Island Rep. Fausto C. Anguilla (D-Dist. 68, Bristol, Warren) has introduced legislation aimed at reining in rising malpractice insurance premiums. His bill, the Fair Insurance Act of 2005, would prohibit insurers from charging Rhode Island doctors fees that it doesn’t charge doctors in other states, and would require expanded public disclosure of rates and policies.
“An insurance company should not be raising the premiums of doctors with good records of practicing safe medicine,” Anguilla said.

He said his proposal grew out of a House Judiciary Committee hearing last year at which doctors testified that their malpractice rates kept rising even though they’d never been sued. “It appears that insurers are, in some cases, overestimating the amount of malpractice payouts to justify higher premiums. There were also reports that Rhode Island doctors were being charged higher fees than doctors in other states and that the surpluses being held by the insurers were huge,” he added.

The bill (H. 5437) would require the Department of Business Regulation to ensure that estimates of future losses conform more closely to actual experience; allow the state to order refunds to doctors who have been overcharged; limit the difference between the highest- and lowest-paying specialties to 500 percent, and require rates to be based on how many claims a doctor has faced, and whether the doctor has taken steps to prevent malpractice.

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Insurance Journal West March 7, 2005
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