Maryland Approves 33% Med-Mal Hike

September 15, 2004

Maryland Insurance Commissioner Alfred W. Redmer, Jr. has approved a 33 percent medical malpractice rate increase for Medical Mutual Liability Insurance Society of Maryland and its subsidiary, Professionals Advocate Insurance Company.

The insurers had sought a 41 percent increase.

“I believe it is of the utmost importance that physicians have adequate access to affordable medical liability insurance because that ensures Marylanders will have continued access to quality healthcare,” stated Redmer. “Rate increase proposals filed by medical malpractice insurers have been and will continue to be thoroughly reviewed and analyzed to ensure that both requests for an increase and the amount of the requested increase are supported by actuarial analysis.”

At the end of June, 2004, Medical Mutual filed for a +41 percent overall rate increase which included a base rate increase of 37.8 percent as well as some changes to the class plans, relativity factors and territory changes.

At the request of the Maryland State Medical Society, MedChi, on behalf of its members, a hearing was held on the proposed rate increase on August 18, 2004. During the hearing, testimony was presented by Medical Mutual, an independent actuary retained by the Maryland Insurance Administration, representatives of MedChi, and various individual physicians. The record was kept open for an additional week at the request of Medical Mutual to enable it to submit rebuttal testimony.

The insurer, which insures an estimated 75 percent of the state’s physicians, raised rates 28 percent in 2004.

Redmer also found that Medical Mutual’s proposed class changes, compressing classes 1A, 1B and 1C into a single class 1 was not supported by the data. Had this proposed compression been allowed to stand, it would have had the effect of raising premiums for dermatologists and psychiatrists by more than 100 percent, according to officials. “Absent compelling actuarial evidence, I could not allow such an action to be taken,” said Redmer.

The governor and the state Senate have named task forces to look into ways to slow the rise in medical malpractice insurance costs.

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