Florida Physicians Who Opt to Not Carry Medical Provider Liability Insurance

An FAQ from Our Florida Healthcare Attorneys on Providers Without Medical Provider Liability Insurance

Are Physicians Who Practice in Florida Required to Carry Medical Provider Liability Insurance?

No. Florida physicians do not need to carry medical provider liability insurance, which protects physicians from such financial risks as medical malpractice. Florida is one of 32 U.S. states that allows for this practice, which is commonly referred to as “going bare.”

Why Do Florida Physicians Choose to Not Carry Medical Provider Liability Insurance?

Mostly for economic reasons. Many Florida physicians believe medical provider liability insurance is too expensive, even with tort reform and damage caps in place for medical malpractice and other negligence lawsuits. These healthcare providers also believe that, by being uninsured, their risk of being sued is lower; without insurance-backed money to go after in a negligence suit, plaintiff’s lawyers often believe it’s not worth the effort of a court battle.

Other physicians go bare because they can’t get medical provider liability insurance even if they wanted to. These providers could be uninsurable because of past lawsuits against them; disciplinary problems before the Board of Medicine; or a healthcare fraud conviction.

In addition, some healthcare practitioners may be practicing in a healthcare field where commercial insurance carriers do not feel comfortable underwriting due to the high risk of negligence suits; these include neurosurgeons and OB/GYNs. On the other side of the coin, select areas of healthcare don’t carry a high risk for negligence and subsequent litigation — such as physicians who specialize in sports-related, occupational medicine, or physical therapy, which do not often lead to claims of malpractice — so those providers prefer to forego liability insurance.

What Do Florida Physicians Who Don’t Carry Medical Provider Liability Insurance Do to Protect Themselves?

For the most part, physicians who opt to not have a medical provider liability insurance policy will set up an asset protection plan, or have their assets sheltered in a sophisticated trust or partnership. This will keep their personal assets, such as their homes and annuities, safely out of reach should they face a legal judgment.

In some cases, physicians will declare bankruptcy, as Florida Statute 222.14 allows for annuities to be safe from creditor claims and judgments. This was highlighted in one prominent medical malpractice case, where, in 1992, a Florida physician who didn’t have medical provider liability insurance filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy the same day a jury was to start deliberations in a patient’s gall bladder surgery suit. 

Although the jury returned a $4 million verdict, the physician’s assets and retirement accounts, which were worth $3.8 million, were exempt from creditors under Florida law, and the Supreme Court of Florida in 2001 ruled that his variable annuities also were protected. The $4 million judgment was vacated.

Are There Requirements Florida Physicians Must Meet If They Are Uninsured?

Yes. According to § 458.320 in the Florida Statutes, Florida physicians who choose not to carry medical provider liability insurance must:

  • Post an assurance bond;
  • Set up an escrow account;
  • Obtain an irrevocable-line-of-credit letter from a bank or other lending agency in an amount not less than $100,000 per claim, with a minimum aggregate availability of credit of not less than $300,000; and
  • Post a sign in their office reception area that is visible and clearly states: “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.”

How Does Not Carrying Medical Provider Liability Insurance Play Into Visiting Privileges in Florida?

While some Florida hospitals and managed care organizations have insurance requirements for physicians with visiting privileges, many other hospitals and institutional practices do allow for uninsured physicians to buy into their policy, typically by way of payroll deductions.

How Can the Florida Healthcare Lawyers at Chapman Law Group Help Uninsured Physicians Facing Medical Malpractice or Negligence Lawsuits?

At Chapman Law Group, we have 35 years’ experience in defending Florida physicians, specialty medical practitioners and surgeons who are accused of medical negligence or medical malpractice. Our Florida health care lawyers understand the complexities involved in these healthcare litigation matters, and we have an earned reputation for trial victories in medical malpractice and negligence cases involving:

Our Florida medical malpractice defense lawyers represent licensed medical professionals in negligence and medical malpractice claims, including:

As one of the top law firms in Florida for healthcare defense matters, our primary goal is to protect your interests and limit the time and cost of medical malpractice litigation. Thoroughly understanding all facets of the complaint, including standard of care/practice, alleged breach, proximate cause and damages, gives each Chapman Law Group attorney the ability to take aggressive action and achieve desired results. Our extensive trial experience, use of technology and network of experts give us the right advantage.

Types of claims we address for medical malpractice in Florida include:

  • Failure to diagnose
  • Failure to treat
  • Delayed diagnosis
  • Surgical negligence
  • Medication error

Our Florida offices are in Miami and Sarasota, Florida. We serve all of Florida, including Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa, Gainesville, Orlando, West Palm Beach, Lakeland, and Sarasota, as well as Miami-Dade County, Broward County, Pinellas County, Brevard County, Hillsborough County, Duval County, Escambia County, and Orange County.

If you are a Florida-based physician who does not carry medical provider liability insurance, contact us today. We will have a Chapman Law Group Florida medical malpractice attorney advise you on how to proceed with your case.

Need an Attorney? Contact us now!

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