What Is Anesthesiologist Liability Insurance?

Anesthesiologist liability insurance is the professional liability insurance that is commonly known as “malpractice insurance.” This type of policy pays for claims made against an anesthesiologist for errors or omissions that cause a patient to be injured or die while in the anesthesiologist’s care.

A common example would be when a patient fails to wake up after the anesthesiologist puts him to sleep. This is something that has a real possibility of happening, but you can protect yourself against it by purchasing liability insurance.

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An Anesthesiologist’s Responsibilities

An anesthesiologist has many responsibilities. Therefore, you have several areas in which mistakes can occur. Obviously, you are responsible for administering the anesthesia before the surgeon operates, but other duties may lead to mistakes or omissions, including the following:

  • An anesthesiologist must manage and treat any changes in the patient’s bodily functions.
  • An anesthesiologist must monitor critical functions while the surgery is going on.
  • An anesthesiologist must monitor the patient’s medical condition and create a plan for administering anesthesia.
  • An anesthesiologist must diagnose and treat any medical problems during the surgery and after the surgery is over.

Risks an Anesthesiologist Faces on the Job

The fact is that there are risks involved because your patients are human, so complications are subject to arise. Just a few of the risks are the following:

  • Obesity
  • Sleep apnea
  • Family history
  • A history of alcoholism
  • A history of smoking
  • Medications
  • Allergies to food or drugs

These and other unforeseen risk factors make liability insurance a must for anesthesiologists.

Should You Join Your Healthcare Facility’s Liability Plan or Purchase Your Own?

Your healthcare facility may have a group malpractice policy that you will join, especially if you work in a large hospital. If this is the case, your employer might even pay your premiums for you. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to continue with this policy if you leave your job.

The best thing for you to do is purchase your own liability policy not to have a coverage gap when you change jobs. Allowing your coverage to lapse can present problems for you with the licensing board, and you may have difficulties finding liability insurance in the future. To avoid this, you must speak with an independent insurance agent. Your agent will help you find a good liability insurance policy covering all of your needs for a fair price.

Occurrence Coverage

A typical medical malpractice insurance policy will provide you with $1 million per occurrence for one claim. “Per occurrence” means that you will be covered for any mishaps that occurred while the policy was in effect. If a patient files a claim several years later, for example, your insurance company will cover the damages awarded to the patient even though the policy may no longer be in place. The policy also provides you with a $3 million aggregate limit. The aggregate limit is the amount the policy will pay for the entire term.

For example, during your 1-year term, patients filed three different claims. The policy paid each patient $1 million. You would have had enough money to cover these three claims with the policy described above.

This coverage may not be enough for you, but when you consult with your insurance agent, he or she will be able to set the most appropriate limits.

buy Anesthesiologist Liability Insurance today and save

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Call (866) 703-0853

Claims-Made

A claims-made policy covers claims that are made while the policy is in effect. If someone makes a claim, it will have been made while the policy was in force. You may want to switch policies, so you would no longer be covered by that particular insurance carrier. If you purchase “tail coverage,” it would extend your policy past the point where you canceled it.

A claims-made policy also requires you to keep your policy active from the moment the incident occurred until the claim is made. You cannot have any gaps in your coverage while you are performing your duties as an anesthesiologist.

An Example

You had a claims-made policy from 2016 to 2017. You treated a patient in 2016, but this patient is suing you in 2020 for the injury that occurred under your care in 2016. You have tail coverage, and you never allowed your insurance coverage to lapse. Therefore, you are covered for the incident that occurred in 2016.

Your insurance agent will make sure that you have this type of coverage if it is right for you.

The Possibility of Lawsuits

Anesthesiology is one of the medical specialties that issued more often than the others. A total of 58% of practicing anesthesiologists have been sued. So, there is more than a 50-50 chance that you could be involved in a lawsuit during your years of practice.

The odds are just too great that a lawsuit could happen to you, so you must find the most appropriate liability policy. You can do this with the help of a good insurance agent.

The liability insurance that your employer has may be enough. Still, the best thing for you to do is take the policy to your own insurance agent and let him or her make sure it contains enough coverage for you.

In some cases, the employer has a liability insurance policy that covers the hospital’s or the healthcare group’s interests more than any individual healthcare practitioner’s interests. This may be the case for your employer’s policy, and if the judgment for the plaintiff is large enough, it could end up damaging your interests.

How Much Does Liability Insurance Cost?

Most anesthesiologists carry the standard policy of $1 million per occurrence and $3 million for the entire year. You may also have the choice of purchasing coverage at higher limits, including $2 million per occurrence and $4 million for the year.

Every policy will be different because each anesthesiologist is different, but your independent insurance agent will put together a package tailored just for you.
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