LRANY’s Tom Stebbins had a letter to the editor published in Crain’s New York Business this week:
As New York health insurers request higher rates (“Health insurers request 8.4% average rate hike”), New Yorkers should be aware that the price of medical professional liability insurance is a hidden driver of these costs. For certain specialties, including OBGYNs medical liability insurance costs are the highest in the country, and sadly, legislators in Albany are on the cusp of making it much worse.
New York already has the highest medical liability payouts per capita and highest total of such payouts in the country, an amount which totaled $685.3 million in 2018. Not surprisingly, New York was ranked this year as the worst state for doctors to practice, with professional liability insurance costs listed as a contributing factor.
The state’s pro-lawsuit statutes, driven by the personal injury bar’s influence in Albany, are the prime culprit. The lawyer-lobby has successfully convinced lawmakers to resist reforming the state’s standards for expert evidence, and recently pushed them to lift the statute of limitations in certain cases. And now, at the behest of this powerful special interest, the State Legislature is advancing another bill which would allow for subjective pain and suffering payouts in medical cases involving wrongful death claims. An analysis from actuarial firm Milliman Inc. found that medical liability premiums will increase by 47% if this bill is enacted.