Ohio Director Wants $12 Million for Med Mal JUA
December 3, 2003
Ohio Insurance Director Ann Womer Benjamin testified today before the state’s House Insurance Committee to advocate for changes that would protect $12 million for medical malpractice initiatives and provide the department greater flexibility while working to stabilize the medical malpractice insurance market.
Medical malpractice insurance premiums have risen by an average of 30 percent among the five major insurers over the past year and three of the five insurers have experienced financial reversals recently.
“Reserving this money to further address the medical malpractice crisis will help preserve access to medical malpractice insurance and help ease market pressures,” Womer Benjamin said. “The department needs potential funding for curative measures such as a special medical malpractice insurance fund, a new medical malpractice underwriting association or a patient compensation fund to address a volatile market. The department’s highest priority is to ensure that doctors continue to practice in Ohio.”
The Ohio Medical Malpractice Commission, established under SB 281, also is expected to recommend measures, some of which may require funding.
The legislation would provide for the transfer of $12 million from the Ohio Joint Underwriting Association (JUA), a state-created medical malpractice insurance company established in 1975, which is being closed.
The legislation would also give the director authority to create a Medical Malpractice Joint Underwriting Association (MMJUA). The operational aspects of the MMJUA would be similar to the JUA, but would allow the Director — based on specific criteria — to respond quickly to any change in the marketplace.
Funded by premiums from physicians and hospitals that obtained coverage from the JUA, the association stopped writing policies on Dec. 31, 1980, and is being dissolved, with the remaining funds to be distributed.
There is no provision under Ohio law permitting a reactivation of the JUA.
Other Department measures to address medical malpractice concerns include the implementation of SB 281, including creating a system for reporting medical malpractice lawsuits, a more rigorous review of rate filings, and the initiation of examinations of the rating and underwriting practices of Ohio’s top medical malpractice insurers.
Was this article valuable?
Here are more articles you may enjoy.