R.I. Grants 2.3% Hike in ProSelect’s Rates for Physicians

October 4, 2005

Medical insurer ProSelect has received approval for an average 2.3 percent increase in physicians’ and surgeons’ medical malpractice insurance rates in Rhode Island. However, the insurer lost its bid for an increase in rates for hospitals.

ProSelect had submitted filings calling for a 4.9 percent increase for physicians and surgeons and 13.5 percent for hospitals.

According to DBR’s calculations, hospitals’ rates should actually go down slightly, by about 1.3 percent, but the final ruling allowed hospitals’ rates to remain unchanged.

The rate decision was handed down by A. Michael Marques, Director and Insurance Commissioner for the Department of Business Regulation.

During the July public hearings on the rate proposals, the Attorney General had opposed ProSelect’s increases, arguing instead that rates should drop by 3.5 percent for physicians and by 2.2 percent for hospitals.

The Rhode Island Trial Lawyers did not provide alternative rates; however, the group argued that the proposed rates were excessive and that a “rate decrease in the low single digits” was warranted.

Also, the Rhode Island Medical Society urged DBR to consider the adverse effects of increasing medical malpractice costs balanced with the necessity for a healthy insurance market.

ProSelect is a member of ProMutual Group, which insures nearly 16,000 physicians, surgeons and dentists, as well hospitals, health centers and clinics. Based in Massachusetts, ProMutual Group also operates in Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont.

ProMutual Group has $1.7 billion in admitted assets, $378 million in policyholder surplus, and $286 million in direct written premium. It has an A- (Excellent) rating from A.M. Best.

Ann Rhodes of Rhode Island for Healthcare also asked officials to weigh the impact on the patient, doctors and hospitals of increased medical malpractice rates. She cited what she termed the “ripple effect” that medical malpractice premiums have in the health system

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