Maryland’s largest medical malpractice insurer will be making an $84 million refund, the Washington Post reported in December. The excess money was not needed for med mal lawsuit payouts as predicted under a state-regulated plan that began in 2004.
In response to the med mal insurance “crisis”in 2004, Maryland assessed a 2 percent surcharge on HMO premiums to subsidize med mal insurance costs for doctors. Doctors had complained loudly to lawmakers after the insurer, Medical Mutual Liability Insurance Society of Maryland, raised rates by double digits.
According to the Post article, from 2001 to 2003, Medical Mutual’s med mal payouts soared from $50 million to around $94 million, but then dropped to about $54 million by 2005. In 2006 payouts rose to $65 million, though are predicted to remain steady.
Doctors, state officials and the executive director of the Maryland State Medical Society cited several reasons for the lowering payouts: natural cycles in malpractice suits, less public inclination to sue, laws that hold down payouts and heightened carefulness by doctors, according to the article.
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