Going Bare - Are Doctors Required to Have Malpractice Insurance?



Going bare has morphed into an insurance term which means that a medical provider is practicing without professional liability or medical malpractice insurance. This trend has decreased over the past 10 years as meaningful tort reform in many states has made it more affordable for physicians to purchase professional liability. However, physicians still continue to make the choice to go without insurance, or “go bare.”

Why Doctors Practice Without Malpractice Insurance

One of the primary reasons for going bare is cost.  Tort reform has occurred in the majority of states which has resulted in a drastic premium reduction. High risk counties that were once uninsurable now have multiple carriers competing. In addition, specialties such as OB/GYN, Neurosurgery and Orthopedics are now much easier for carriers to underwrite. Despite these factors, there are still doctors who do not think that there is an affordable option to going bare. 

Another reason that providers choose to go without medical malpractice insurance is they believe they will be less of a target if they do get sued. They think that once an attorney finds out they do not have insurance, that the case will be dropped as a result of a lower potential for "winnable assets". This may apply in some very limited situations, but attorneys still have the ability to go after the assets of the provider or their business.  Going bare does not guarantee that you will not be a target or ultimately face the possibility of paying a plaintiff attorney.

There are multiple states that do not require a provider to carry professional liability; however, if you reside in Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island or Wisconsin, there are minimum levels of professional liability insurance required. In addition, states including Indiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania and Wyoming have requirements in place to qualify for state liability reforms. It is important for a physician to understand the rules of the state where they practice and make sure they are operating within the standards governed by these states.

Practicing without Medical Malpractice Insurance has become less popular; however, it is still being chosen as an option by Healthcare providers. 

Before making this choice, physicians should ask themselves:

  1. What is the maximum cost I can afford if something goes wrong?
  2. Are all of my assets protected in the event I choose to go without insurance?
  3. Does my state require that I carry a minimum level of insurance?

As a healthcare provider, you have spent an immense amount of time and money investing in your career. In almost all cases, going without medical malpractice insurance can be a costly decision. 

At Gallagher Healthcare, we are experts at specific state medical malpractice laws throughout the United States, and are happy to help with any questions you have on minimum coverage requirements. We also represent a wide range of carriers which allows us to tailor a policy to your unique needs and budget, while still providing appropriate coverage levels. Contact us today with your questions or to request a free, no obligation quote tailored to your needs.


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