Minor insurer is cutting malpractice rates for doctors

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Friday, October 13, 2006

Pointing to medical malpractice legislation enacted more than a year ago, an insurance provider plans to announce that it will cut its premiums for Illinois doctors by more than 30 percent.
However, it was not the landmark bill's caps on how much doctors and hospitals can be forced to pay in a lawsuit that apparently did the trick, officials say. Berkshire Hathaway's Med Pro insurer - a minor competitor in Illinois' malpractice insurance market - says it is cutting rates because of the law's provisions designed to aid competition between malpractice insurers.
Specifically, the bill forced medical malpractice insurers to share
comprehensive information on how they set their rates. That information became public, allowing companies with small market holds in Illinois like Med Pro to adjust their rates, said Michael McRaith, director of the state's Division of Insurance.
"What Berkshire is telling us is that . . . it's the availability of the data that allows them to set rates that are more competitive than they could have set before," McRaith said Thursday.
The announcement was expected today at a news conference in Alton with company representatives as well as Gov. Rod Blagojevich and other elected officials. Med Pro is also planning to accept up to $100 million in new premiums beginning next year. That represents an increase of more than 600 percent on its current business.

"This just shows that it's insurance reform that has the capacity to lower
rates and bring in competitors," said Mark Fraley, acting director of the
Center for Justice and Democracy. "The caps never should have been an issue because they just don't work."
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

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