Opponents of medical malpractice tort reform often argue that malpractice premiums are on the rise because insurance companies made bad investments, not because of out-of-control jury awards. But, if that’s so, then why do premiums vary so widely by geography? Consider the rates in Cleveland, Ohio, a city that can lay claim to some of the most aggressive trial lawyers in the state, as well as some of the most generous juries:
A comparison of standard, non-discounted rates the American Physicians Assurance Corporation charges in Ohio, Illinois and Michigan shows doctors in Cuyahoga County paying the highest rates in almost every category, and nearly double the Columbus tariff.
For instance, neurosurgeons in Cuyahoga County paid $212,000 annually, while their colleagues in Columbus paid $118,000 in malpractice premiums. Doctors in the high-risk specialties also paid about $20,000 less in Chicago and Detroit than their counterparts in Cuyahoga County.
‘The fact is, a day doesn’t go by when a Northeast Ohio doctor doesn’t get sued for multimillions of dollars,’ says Myers.