Two pieces of news provide a flicker of hope amid the doom and gloom.
SACRAMENTO, Calif., June 11 -- The California Department of Insurance issued the following news release:
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today announced lower rates for medical malpractice insurance offered by the Doctors Company, an Interinsurance Exchange. The company's 10 percent overall rate reduction saves doctors, dentists and other medical providers $21 million annually in medical malpractice insurance premiums. The Doctors Company, the largest medical malpractice insurance writer in California, joins five other insurers which recently lowered rates as a result of action taken by Commissioner Jones for a total savings to medical providers of nearly $44 million.
Last year (http://www.insurance.ca.gov/0400-news/0100-press-releases/2011/release030-11.cfm), Commissioner Jones required six of the largest medical malpractice insurance companies in California to submit rate filings to the Department of Insurance to justify their current rates. After careful review of those filings, Commissioner Jones determined the rates were excessive and required all six companies to substantially lower their medical malpractice insurance rates.
"These medical malpractice insurance rate reductions go beyond just giving medical providers important savings on their malpractice insurance rates," said Commissioner Jones. "They lower the underlying cost of health care overall. But it still makes no sense that the Insurance Commissioner has the legal authority under Proposition 103 to reduce medical malpractice insurance rates for medical providers, but not the same ability to hold down excessive health insurance and HMO rate increases for the average California consumer. We need to pass a new law that would give the Insurance Commissioner the authority to reject excessive health insurance and HMO rates for ordinary Californians."
The Doctors Company joins Medical Protective Company (MedPro), NORCAL Mutual, The Dentists Insurance Company, The Medical Insurance Exchange of California's physicians and surgeons program and the NCMIC Insurance Company in lowering rates at the direction of the Insurance Commissioner.
TNS 23SQ 120612-JF78-3907346 StaffFurigay