Washington Insurance Commissioner OKs Coverage for Doctors who Provide Abortions

September 27, 2022

Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s office approved coverage requested by Physicians Insurance A Mutual of Seattle to reimburse its policyholders for legal fees and expenses incurred defending against a criminal action from providing patient care, including performing abortions.

Abortion is legal in Washington state, but patients from other states may seek treatment here if their state outlaws the procedure, Kreidler’s office noted in a release announcing the approval.

“My office will do everything it can to counter attacks on reproductive health and the physicians who provide essential care,” Kreidler said in a statement. “As states like Texas threaten legal and criminal action against physicians, the OIC is determined to counter this by assisting medical malpractice insurers wherever we can.”

The approved policy rider provides up to $250,000 in coverage to reimburse a covered provider for the legal costs spent successfully defending against criminal charges involving direct patient care.

Under the new coverage, criminal action is defined as:

  • A criminal proceeding following arrest or indictment;
  • An official request for extradition;
  • Or a criminal or regulatory investigation including a medical board.

Physicians is the largest medical malpractice insurer in Washington state with more than 50% of the market, according to Kreidler’s office.

The new coverage is expected to be available starting Jan.1, 2023.

Topics Washington

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