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Claims Keep Dropping – Health Insurance Rates Keep Increasing. Go Figure

May 11, 2015

If Lawyers are Responsible for Health Insurance Costs, Why Haven’t Costs Decreased As Cases Have Done So?

medical malpractice claims

Medical malpractice claims drop…health insurance rates increase?

People like to yell at personal injury lawyers. They claim that we are responsible for health insurance costs. Over the years, firms in Pennsylvania have tried to explain that this is simply not true. Medical malpractice lawsuits have nothing to do with health insurance costs and doctors’ insurance costs are actually decreasing.  But as we all know, the cost of health insurance has not dropped. You wouldn’t know it from all of the yelling at plaintiff lawyers in Pennsylvania.

The Numbers

In 2013, the number of malpractice suits filed were the lowest in many years. We wrote about that fact at the time. Well, the statistics are out again, and the number of suits filed in 2014 dropped even further. Last year, 1,463 lawsuits were filed. This is a 46.5% drop from the year the largest number of cases were filed (tracking began in 2000.) These numbers come directly from the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts. An entirely neutral party.

The Reality

If a correlation existed between claims and health insurance costs, you would see the cost of health insurance dropping. Which, of course, it isn’t. Some courts are beginning to recognize that there is no relationship between claims and health insurance. In fact, in states like Florida where the legislature passed caps based on a so-called lawsuit crisis, the Supreme Court of that state threw out the cap and bench slapped the legislature for creating a false crisis.

There is a Crisis

Here’s the truth. Medical malpractice is a crisis. But not an insurance one. There are entirely too many cases of people being injured by negligent medical professionals. Due to this falsely created “lawsuit crisis,” changes in the law have made it all but impossible for many people to sue. Even in cases of death. As a result, doctors are rarely held responsible for causing serious harm to innocent people. A 2013 study shows that between 210,000 and 440,00 patients suffered some kind of preventable error in a hospital that contributed to their deaths. If you divide the lower number by 50 (the number of states) that is 4200. Remember, in Pennsylvania, we had only 1463 lawsuits. And we are a very populous state, so our share of deaths is much likely to be higher.

Don’t let anyone tell you that lawsuits are responsible for the cost of health insurance. This is just a distraction from the real problem. Preventable errors in hospitals are killing and injuring people. This needs to stop.

 

LOWENTHAL AND ABRAMS, P.C.

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