Med-Mal Subsidy Relief Finally in Mail for Md. Doctors

May 26, 2005

Doctors in high-risk specialties in Maryland whose malpractice insurance premiums increased as much as 33 percent this year are finally getting some financial relief from malpractice legislation passed by the General Assembly last December.

Medical Mutual Liability Insurance Society, which insures most Maryland doctors, announced that third-quarter invoices to be mailed this week to physicians who pay their insurance in installments will reflect the subsidy provided by the General Assembly to hold the premium increase to a maximum of 5 percent. Physicians who paid the full premium at the beginning of the year will have the option of getting a rebate or applying the subsidy to next year’s medical malpractice premiums.

“The doctors of Maryland desperately needed the premium relief created by the Maryland General Assembly, and we are very pleased that everyone was able to work together to make sure that they received the full amount of the subsidy at this time,” Dr. D. Ted Lewers, chairman of the Medical Mutual board, said.

The administration of Gov. Robert Ehrlich announced last week that it was freeing up the money appropriated by the General Assembly at a special session of the legislature called by Ehrlich in December.

The governor, unhappy with the bill approved by lawmakers, vetoed it, but the veto was overridden as one of the first items of business when the 2005 General Assembly session was convened in January.

Democratic leaders had complained repeatedly that the administration was dragging its feet on making the $27 million for the subsidy available to Medical Mutual so it could pass on the savings to doctors.

“All they’ve been doing is make excuses about why it hasn’t been done and why it can’t be done,” Sen. Brian Frosh, D-Montgomery, said last week.

But administration officials said they had moved as quickly as they could to make the money available so that premium increases for the year could be held at the maximum 5 percent level.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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