A big question mark pops up when we talk about the cost of insurance. Specifically with medical malpractice insurance, it may be difficult to find out a simple average number for the cost of insurance, otherwise known as a premium. This is because of a many factors, but the two we’ll be focusing on are specialty type and location of practice.
It’s quite obvious that different specialties require different types of coverage. A dermatologist probably won’t have the same policy as a cardiologist surgeon, since things like degree of invasiveness come into play when carriers determine the cost of coverage. For example, an obstetrician/gynecologist may have a policy that costs $32,000, while a dermatologist’s premium may only be $10,000. Numerous things go into calculating this number, including average number of claims per specialty, as well as the size of the office and staff of a single practice.
Rates also vary by state, and sometimes, counties within the state can have an impact on the premium, too. California is considered to be one of the lower-cost premium states due to legislation affecting how medicine is practiced. A study in 2010 found that the average general surgeon in California pays about $13,000 on the low end of premium costs, while that same general surgeon in Michigan might pay $143,000 on the high end. Additionally, socioeconomic factors come into play when carriers assess the risk factor of counties within a state. In California, a single carrier may charge a general surgeon $19,000 in Madera county, and if he or she practiced in San Bernardino county, the premium could be as high as $51,000.
For anyone looking to find out the estimate of what his or her malpractice premium might look like, it’s probably best to contact an insurance broker to review a variety of rates for the same specialty and county. This way, multiple carriers’ rates can be stacked against one another, offering the most comprehensive look at what a premium should look like.