N.J. aims to lower liability rates

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted March 8, 2004

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New Jersey physicians are asking the state Board of Medical Examiners to lower the minimum amount of insurance they are required to carry. At an informal hearing in February, the Medical Society of New Jersey testified that reducing the minimum levels would immediately cut high premiums in the state.

In June 2003, MSNJ petitioned the board to reduce the minimum level of medical liability insurance to $300,000 per occurrence and $900,000 aggregate annually. Currently, physicians must carry $1 million per occurrence and $3 million aggregate annually.

"Physicians who are state employees working at hospitals already enjoy a liability limit of $300,000," said MSNJ President Mark T. Olesnicky, MD. "Under auto insurance, $300,000 is the minimum liability limit a person can obtain and still have the ability to purchase a higher umbrella policy up to $500,000. Is it fair to say that identical injuries are worth quantum more under medical liability than they are under auto insurance?"

New Jersey is one of 19 states that the AMA lists as experiencing a medical liability crisis that has physicians leaving the state, reducing services or retiring early because they cannot find or afford insurance.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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