Why Going Without Insurance Is Never Worth The Risk
Malpractice Insurance in Florida is Important but Not Always Mandated
A sharply declining but still ever present trend among local physicians is the controversial option to forego medical malpractice insurance in Florida and assume the personal responsibility of potential legal lawsuits out of pocket. While many states require a minimum standard of insurance coverage in order to maintain a legitimate license, the state of Florida allows for some specific exceptions. By law, physicians that choose to “go bare” and work without the protection of liability coverage, need only to operate with this posted sign:
“Under Florida law, physicians are generally required to carry medical malpractice insurance or otherwise demonstrate financial responsibility to cover potential claims for medical malpractice. However, certain part-time physicians who meet state requirements are exempt from the financial responsibility law. YOUR DOCTOR MEETS THESE REQUIREMENTS AND HAS DECIDED NOT TO CARRY MEDICAL MALPRACTICE INSURANCE. This notice is provided pursuant to Florida law.” – Florida Statute §458.320
The option to go bare seems like an attractive alternative to those who feel the added cost of malpractice insurance in Florida is inconvenient or unaffordable. However, patients still retain the right to sue if a negligent error is made and anticipating the full costs of a lawsuit can be dangerously difficult.
Reduced Costs or Costly Error?
A large factor contributing to the existence of medical professionals that prefer the risk of going bare is the seemingly exorbitant cost of Florida medical malpractice insurance. Many physicians simply find the out of pocket expenses to be significantly more reasonable than the potential for escalating premiums. Fortunately, recent tort reforms have significantly reduced the cost of medical malpractice insurance in Florida, and premiums are expected to continually decline to more manageable rates. Greater availability of substantial coverage has reduced the frequency to doctors going bare, but the practice is still widely in place.
Another contributing factor is the willingness of patients to accept the risks of medical liability simply for access to medical care. A struggling health care system has increased the number of people preferring to pay direct cash to physicians that will provide treatment without requiring insurance. Nevertheless, both doctor and patient assume a terrific risk without proper liability coverage. This is a risk that can ultimately prove more costly than even the heaviest premiums.
The True Cost of Going Bare
Physicians who operate without Florida medical malpractice insurance, do so with the knowledge that a single error or oversight could lead to devastating financial consequences. The lack of coverage also significantly reduces the type of services and care that to which patients of that physician can have full access.
The costs of foregoing malpractice insurance in Florida include:
- Loss of insurance contracts and hospital privileges
- Risk of bankruptcy
- Indefinite Liability Costs
What seems to be cost effective at first can prove to be damaging in the long term. Be certain to reconsider every option when learning about medical malpractice insurance in Florida because there may exist more reasonable options for coverage that can save money while keeping you protected. Speak to a qualified expert in order to fully understand the laws, risks, and assets involved in your decision.