Blumenthal calls for malpractice reform: Insurance greed blamed for doctors' exits

Connecticut Business News Journal
Monday, July 11, 2005


In the long-running feud between physicians and insurance companies to prove who is greedier, state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal appears to have come down on the side of Connecticut's doctors.

In letters to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and state Insurance Commissioner Susan F. Cogswell, Blumenthal cited a new study by a coalition of national groups revealing that insurance companies have reaped "enormous surpluses" by hiking malpractice premiums by a factor of more than 20 during a period when claims paid actually declined.
Blumenthal said that has led to higher costs for patients while driving doctors out of Connecticut.
"Insurance company greed can be hazardous to all our health," Blumenthal said in a conference call with reporters.
The study, commissioned by the Center for Justice & Democracy and authored by former Missouri Insurance Commissioner Jay Angoff, reveals that the vast discrepancies between the increased premiums and claims paid is a trend both nationwide as well as in Connecticut.
The study analyzed data for the three malpractice-only insurers with the highest market shares in Connecticut: the Connecticut Medical Insurance Co. (CMIC), ProSelect and Medical Protective.
Between 2000 and 2004, premiums collected by all three companies rose, while their claims paid decreased, the study revealed.
Between 2003 and 2004, the claims each company projected they will pay in the future have also fallen, despite the rise in premiums.

Blumenthal said he believes the study will "recast" the national debate on malpractice reform, which has portrayed insurers as "innocent bystanders" passing along the costs of excessive judgments in malpractice suits.
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D



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