Medical liability insurance premiums are soaring to the highest rates since the mid-1980s. A 2002 AAN survey of 400 neurologists showed that mean annual premiums increased 35 percent in 2002 and an additional 23 percent in 2003. Fifty percent of the respondents made changes to their practice related to the liability crisis, including scaling back their practices and closing their offices.
Evidence suggests these increases in premiums are due to several factors:
The high cost of liability insurance trickles through the healthcare system in problematic ways. For example, almost four in five physicians report they order extra and often unnecessary tests to avoid legal scrutiny. The federal government estimates that over $70 billion a year could be saved if physicians did not feel compelled by the threat of lawsuit to practice this so-called "defensive medicine."
The Academy has called for MICRA-style reforms, to include:
The Academy has developed an advocacy toolkit (to the right) to help you advocate on this important issue.