In 1975 the Medical Malpractice Joint Underwriting Association of Rhode Island (MMJUA of RI) was formed in response to a lack of affordable coverage for physicians, surgeons, and hospitals in the state. Today the MMJUA of RI is seen as a last resort for healthcare providers that have difficulty obtaining coverage in the commercial market because there are many options available and premiums are reasonable for most specialties. Since the 70s there have been no significant malpractice reforms in the state. There are no caps on damages in any category in medical malpractice claims.
In Rhode Island a claimant has 3 years from the time of the alleged incident, or death, or from the date he or she knew or should have known about the injury to file a medical malpractice suit. There is an exception for minors and the mentally incompetent that gives an additional 3 years after the minor reaches adulthood or the disability is removed in the case of an incompetent person.
While there are over 50 insurance companies offering medical professional liability insurance in Rhode Island, the market continues to be dominated by 2 large carriers. Because of their hold on the market many physicians are turning to alternative types of coverage for more flexible options and lower rates. An independent broker should be able to provide quotes from several types of companies.
Although the “Ocean State” is the smallest in geographical area, it is one of the most densely populated states. For its size and relatively low total population it has a great deal of options for quality healthcare. While there have been no significant medical malpractice reforms, Rhode Island has seen a drop in malpractice claims and in the cost of insurance since the late 1990s. Physicians currently will find the state to be a favorable place to practice, but because of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and an increase in claims in the last year, there is some concern about the future of the Rhode Island malpractice insurance market.