The cost of medical professional liability insurance in Alaska can be considered moderate when compared to the rest of the United States. According to rate data collected by the Medical Liability Monitor, physicians in Alaska pay about one-quarter of the medical malpractice insurance premiums similar physicians pay in the five most expensive states.
Alaska’s moderate medical liability climate owes much to its forward-thinking state legislature. In reaction to the first American medical liability crisis in 1975, medical malpractice coverage was so scarce and so expensive that the Alaska legislature founded the Medical Indemnity Corp. of Alaska (MICA)—a non-profit, state agency created to provide hospital and physician medical liability insurance—to address the needs of the state’s healthcare community. The mutual insurance company was created to make medical malpractice coverage available to all Alaska physicians, and the original legislation that created it mandated all Alaska physicians obtain insurance through MICA. That mandate was legislatively rescinded in 1977, and when the initial liability crisis waned, the Alaska State Medical Association persuaded Medical Indemnity Exchange of California (MIEC) to enter the market. In 1991, NORCAL Mutual entered the Alaska medical malpractice insurance market, purchasing the assets of MICA. Together, MIEC and NORCAL insure the professional liability of more than 70 percent of Alaska’s physician population.
More than 20 years after the Alaska’s first medical liability crisis, the legislature passed the 1997 Alaska Tort Reform Act. Also known as HB 58, this Act capped the dollar amount of awards for punitive and non-economic damages, revised the state’s liability allocation system from joint and several to several and created a 10-year statute of repose (actions for wrongful death must be brought within two years).
Long considered the most effective tort reform, the cap created by the 1997 Alaska Tort Reform Act limits punitive and non-economic damages awarded for injury or death to the greater of $400,000 or the injured person’s life expectancy in years multiplied by $8,000; limits punitive and non-economic damages for personal injuries involving permanent physical impairment or severe disfigurement to the greater of $1 million or the person’s life expectancy in years multiplied by $25,000.
The Alaska legislature revisited medical liability tort reform in 2005, passing the Alaska Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act into law. The new law tightened the existing punitive and non-economic damage cap, reducing the cap to $250,000 in cases where the injury is determined to be less than 70 percent disabling.
Because the medical liability climate in Alaska is stable and premiums are moderate, the medical malpractice insurance companies writing in the state are competing for business. For this reason, it is advisable that one employs an experienced medical malpractice insurance agent who has access to all the available carriers. Only an experienced agent with access can shop your coverage to ensure you are getting the best policy at the most affordable price.
Request your free Alaska Medical Malpractice Insurance quote today, and experience the best pricing and excellent customer service you should be getting.
This write-up of Alaska was put together by Michael Matray, the Editor of the Medical Liability Monitor
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