Study: Medical liability costs to continue to soar this year

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If liability insurance rates for hospitals and physicians are any indicator of what's in store for skilled nursing facilities this year, the news isn't good. A new study shows that rates will continue to climb.

Claims costs for hospitals and physicians are expected to increase just under 10%, similar to increases each of the last three years, according to a new study by Aon Risk Services. Over the last eight years, the average size of hospital liability claims has nearly doubled – to an expected $150,000 this year.

The average for physician liability claims during the same period are up about 45%, to an expected $178,000, the study found.

The frequency of claims increased over the study period, but study authors said the "real problem" is the booming size of liability awards. Tort reform laws in some states have limited some payout amounts, however, they noted.

More of the report's highlights can be found by clicking on "2003 Benchmark Analysis" at www.aon.com.