New Med-Mal Providers Approved for Pennsylvania

December 25, 2002

Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner M. Diane Koken announced that two new medical-malpractice insurance entities—Pennsylvania Health Providers Reciprocal Exchange of Harrisburg and United Central PA Reciprocal Risk Retention Group of Harrisburg—have been approved to enter the Pennsylvania marketplace.

“These two new entities are part of a growing list of companies that are organizing to offer medical providers more options in a very tight medical-malpractice insurance marketplace,” Commissioner Koken said. “Since April, 15 entities have entered the medical-malpractice insurance marketplace in Pennsylvania, thanks in part to the improvements made by Gov. Schweiker over the last year.”

The Pennsylvania Health Providers Reciprocal Exchange of Harrisburg will market its liability products across the Commonwealth to all types of physicians and dentists. One hundred medical providers already have signed up as subscribers to the exchange; and

The United Central PA Reciprocal Risk Retention Group of Harrisburg is a risk-retention group whose members are part of the Pinnacle Health System.

“We are committed to working with health-care providers to see that they fully understand the coverage options available to them,” Commissioner Koken said. “In addition, we continue to work to expedite access for any entity interested in entering the Pennsylvania medical-malpractice insurance marketplace.”

Earlier this month, Gov. Schweiker took immediate steps to provide short- term medical-malpractice insurance relief for health-care providers, directing Commissioner Koken to request that private medical-malpractice insurers postpone the collection of the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error (MCARE) fund assessment from health-care providers until April 30, 2003.

In March, Gov. Schweiker called for and signed Act 13, which began the move toward repairing the medical-malpractice system with strong patient- safety measures and gradual privatization of the state CAT Fund.

In June, Gov. Schweiker called for and signed legislation to alter Pennsylvania’s joint and several liability law, requiring a hospital or business only pay to the degree of responsibility assigned by a judge or jury. If a company is found 10 percent at fault, it would be forced to pay no more than 10 percent of the award. Previously, a hospital or business ruled to be responsible for only 1 percent of the damages could be held responsible for 100 percent of the award.

Last month, Commissioner Koken announced that the Insurance Department approved the Pennsylvania Professional Liability Joint Underwriting Association’s (JUA) filing to offer a 15 percent premium discount to loss-free health-care providers effective Jan. 1, 2003.

A complete listing of recently approved medical malpractice insurance entities can be accessed on the department’s website through the PA Powerport at www.state.pa.us, PA Keyword: “insurance.”

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