This is the time of year when all physicians, managers, and administrators should be sitting down to plan for 2009 expenses. The second or third line item of most healthcare practice balance sheets is INSURANCE. This is one area that should be carefully and personally reviewed with your insurance broker each year. Those practices with ANY claims history need to consider whether this will adversely affect their medical malpractice insurance rates.
There are many strategies your broker can employ to reduce the costs of your malpractice policy For example:
1. Adding or increasing the policy deductible (or retention),
2. Restructuring the group policy to take advantage of preferred pricing by practitioner, procedures, or location,
3. Negotiating with the insurance company to restrict or exclude certain procedures, risks, or coverage “perks”.
In addition to expense, other factors to consider during your annual review include an appraisal of your overall risk profile and insurance needs. Your insurance check-up should include a thorough review of any future additions to the practice, be it personnel, locations, new procedures, or the like. Will you be recruiting for a new physician? Is a physician retiring in the coming years? Will you be adding a location or closing one down? Has there been a substantial change in hours or patient volume at a satellite office? Are you considering expanding your services, say conducting a drug trial or providing services to a nursing home or county facility? All these issues impact your coverage and can play a role in deciding the best coverage for your practice.
Finding ways to save money can yield a pleasant surprise. Most importantly, though, your annual check up may protect you from the nasty surprise of finding out after the fact that you do not have coverage for a particular loss. Consider this case: An imaging center that neglected to inform their broker about a change in the corporate structure. At the time a claim was filed the policy remained under the old business name – thereby negating coverage for the new corporation (and the one with the assets at stake in the lawsuit). In a similar situation, an annual review revealed that a large obstetrical practice had neglected to request coverage for a nurse midwife that had joined the practice. In both cases, the practice was unprotected.
So you see, meeting up with your insurance agent, preferably before beginning the new year, is a wise move. Not only can the visit save you money, it can ensure that you don’t find yourself vulnerable in an area you hadn’t considered before. If you disclose all the facts to your agent, it falls upon the agent and agency to ensure that you have all the protection you need.
Presidio Insurance Solutions (800)317-6411