« Calls for more doctor oversight | Main | Liability fears and a patient’s false hopelessness »

December 27, 2005



"PMSLIC provides coverage for claims totaling $500,000. MCARE Fund, a state program created in 2002, pays claims ranging between $500,000 and $1 million, and most of the state's 34,000 doctors are required to contribute to the fund"

Don't hang a Nobel Prize on the person who invented PA's MCARE Fund yet, please - there are a couple of factual inaccuracies in this story.

Here's how it actually works:
PA doctors are required by law to buy TWO levels of malpractice insurance (since 1975)totalling one million dollars in coverage - although prior to 2003, it was 1.2 million in coverage.

The CAT Fund, which is now called the MCARE Fund, was created to entice commercial insurers into the state by lowering their exposure. COmmercial carriers sold only the first $200,000 in coverage, while doctors paid a surcharge each year to participate in the second one million dollar layer of coverage. Participation in both is a licensure requirement in PA.

Unfortunately, the CAT Fund gave away money like candy, and doctors' surcharges, assessed each year AFTER the number of awards was totalled up, skyrocketed, causing serious problems in the physician community back in the mid-90s. Sometimes, there was an emergency surcharge, which could equal a physician's commercial coverage or several hundred percent more...

Legislation passed in 1995 mandated the gradual reduction in the portion of the $1.2 million that the CAT Fund would be resopnsible for, with a commensurate increase in the portion covered by the doctor's commercial insurer. The reason for this was that physicians couldn't afford the surcharges and a serious deficit was building in the Fund. Levels shifted from 1 million CAT Fund/$200,000 commercial coverage in 1996 to $900,000 CAT Fund/$300,000 commercial in 1997 and 98, to $800,000 CAT Fund/$400,000 commercial in 1999 and 2000, and then to $700,000 CAT Fund/$500,000 commercial in 2001 and 2002. In 2002, the PA legislature reduced the mandated amount of insurance from a total of $1.2 million to $1 million and changed the name from the CAT Fund to the MCARE Fund, bringing the MCARE level and the commercial level to $500,000 each, where it is today.

Over the years when the Fund was covering million dollar levels of exposure, it built up an impressive deficit, or unfunded liability, which Pennsylvania's doctors are SOMEDAY going to be forced to pay. Right now, that "unfunded liability" sits at about $3.5 BILLION - that's billion not million. Eventually, the MCARE FUnd will be phased out entirely and docs will have to purchase the whole million in coverage from commercial carriers.

The only GOOD thing about the MCARE Fund is that the PA Legislature assessed cigarette taxes four years ago to help physicians with skyrocketing premiums, and the four highest risk specialties receive a 100% abatement of the MCARE surcharge, which can average around $25,000 a year for a surgeon. Other doctors receive a 50% abatement...

The CAT/MCARE Fund may have served a purpose in its day, but it was poorly administered and far too eager to give away physicians' hard earned money - leaving the next generation of PA physicians holding the bill. It wasn't a grand success....ask any doctor in Pennsylvania...

Oh, one or two more little things - PMSLIC is PA's largest commercial insurer, but not the only one, handling about 12% of PA's doctors....and there are not 34,000 doctors in Pennsylvania - the MCARE application process requires more than one application for any physician who works in more than one location (like residents who "moonlight"), docs who practice out of state, academic docs who don't see patients, etc....

hypnosis for anxiety

On of the many forms of Yoga is the Raja Yoga which states the eight limbs of spiritual practices, with half of them classified as meditation. Then there is the Vedanta which is a form of Jnana Yoga. The Surat Shabd Yoga uses a form of meditation that uses sound and light to achieve a higher state of consciousness. There is also the Bhakti Yoga which practices a form of meditation that focuses on an object of love or devotion. The Japa Yoga which practices a form of meditation where a mantra is being...

chat in

I like the way you express your ideas. Keep going on! adult webchat live girls free online chats for adults

The comments to this entry are closed.

About TMMS

  • ThisMakesMeSick answers renowned medical inventor Dr. Robert Fischell's wish to spread awareness (and outrage!) about the medical liability crisis that's ruining our healthcare system.

    Learn more...

What makes you sick?

  • We want to hear your thoughts and personal stories.

    Have you...

    • Fretted over rising malpractice premiums?

    • Signed a truly unbelievable medical liability waiver?

    • Faced a frivolous lawsuit?

    • Dealt with a doctor or a hospital who wouldn't take responsiblity for their actions?

    • Practiced defensive medicine?

    Let us know about groups and individuals offering real solutions. And be sure to add your comments to our posts.

    Contact the editor of ThisMakesMeSick.

    Subscribe to our RSS Feed.

You don't say...

  • "This election destroyed a popular Karl Rove myth. The truth is that trial attorneys are winning, attacks on trial attorneys are backfiring and opponents of the civil justice system are losing."

    The CEO of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America said.

  • "We have discovered that virtually all patients are willing to sign a contract in which they agree not to sue their doctors on frivolous grounds."

    Jeffrey Segal, M.D, a board-certified neurosurgeon and the founder and president of Medical Justice Services, Inc., said.

  • "Low-risk obstetrics has been done here for 60 years, but not anymore."

    Carl Hanson, chief operating officer of the county-run Minidoka Memorial Hospital in southern Idaho hospital's, explained as they get out of the baby business. Read

  • "I have children, and I don't know where they're at."

    Rosalinda Elison, a former patient at the UC Irvine Medical Center’s fertility clinic, said after learning that that her eggs and embryos had been stolen and implanted in another woman who then gave birth to twins.

    Read more You Don't Say, here.

Crisis by numbers:

  • $4.6 million

    New York state grants available to expand the use of electronic medical records. Such initiatives have been hailed nationally as a way to cut medication errors, save money and improve patient safety. LINK

  • $700,000

    Amount raised by Fairness and Accountability in Insurance Reform to oppose malpractice limits in Arizona. LINK

  • $450,000

    Amount the Arizona Medical Association says Arizonans for Access to Health Care has raised to decide whether to push for montetary limits on lawsuits. LINK

    Read more CRISIS BY NUMBERS, here.

Powered by TypePad
Member since 09/2005