Healthcare

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How Healthcare and Insurance Connect:

Few industries are as emotionally and physically demanding as the healthcare industry. Every day, healthcare professionals choose to put themselves and their careers on the line in order to save lives. While this profession has long been respected, it has increasingly become one where health workers experience legal challenges.

Lawsuits against practicing healthcare professionals have become commonplace. This leaves many in potentially sticky situations. The result is a strong need for healthcare professionals to purchase various types of insurance. While it is unlikely that any doctor would desire to do harm to his or her patients, the legal expense of protecting oneself in court from claims of misdeeds can be extremely high. Likewise, losing a legal defense could be enough to put a private practice out of business.

Health workers should consider an array of insurance options. Not only to protect themselves but also any nurses and other individuals that they employ.

Read on to learn more about the insurance both you and your practice need.

Who Needs Insurance in the Healthcare Industry?

Businesses that need to purchase insurance can include:

  • Private practicing physicians
  • Nurses
  • Dental offices
  • Chiropractors
  • Rehabilitation specialists
  • Pediatricians

Many other licensed professionals in the healthcare industry should also consider buying insurance.

Still not sure what you need?

CoverWallet's Insurance Checklist , you'll find a list of insurance types needed for your specific business or industry.

What Insurance Does a Healthcare Worker Need?

Some healthcare worker’s insurance needs may depend on the type of practice an individual is running, and where that practice is located. However, most healthcare workers will have very similar insurance requirements.

General Liability

General Liability Protects Your Physical Practice as a Whole:

This insurance is the most common product for all businesses with a physical location. You will find that a General Liability Insurance policy insures against areas that are a common concern for many health workers.

This policy will insure:

  • Bodily Injury Claims: Will protect your business from insurance claims of injuries incurred while on the physical premises of your practice.
  • Property Damage: Should you or someone employed in your practice accidentally damage someone’s property, this insurance product will provide coverage.
You’ll Need This When…

You open a practice at a physical location other than a hospital. In most cases, those responsible for the daily operations of the hospital, which generally will not be practicing healthcare workers, will be responsible for taking care of the legal requirements for the physical property and staff. However, a privately practicing professional with his or her location should acquire this policy even before the practice opens.

For Example…

If a patient is accidentally cut or punctured by a needle someone left in a restroom trash can in your offices, your practice could be held liable for any present and future injuries and illnesses that result from the incident. General Liability would provide medical expenses for the injured party, while also providing you and your practice with the necessary funds should the individual decide to sue.

Workers Compensation

Protecting Your Workers After Workplace Injuries:

Workers Compensation is a type of insurance that provides assistance to workers who have been injured on the job while performing work-related duties. With the exception of Texas, every state requires Workers Compensation of some type. It’s important to note that while some states have a “presumptive eligibility” rule, wherein nurses, doctors, and other health workers are immediately believed to have contracted certain diseases while in the workplace, this rule is only standard in some states.

You’ll Need This When…

Your business first opens. Some states have minimum requirements in place which determine whether you do or do not need to purchase this insurance. The requirements are often based on the number of individuals you employ.

For Example…

If a nurse who works at your practice contracts a rare disease, he or she may be eligible to receive Workers Compensation. Although some may consider this a consequence of working as a nurse or in the medical field, Workers Compensation claims among nurses and other medical practitioners are commonplace.

Business Owners Policy

Combining Several Needed Policies Into One Package:

A Business Owners Policy, or a BOP, is a policy that combines the benefits of several other insurance types. Specifically, a BOP includes the benefits from General Liability Insurance and a Property Insurance policy. Together, these areas cover some of the most important concerns for healthcare professionals.

You’ll Need This When…

Your practice is just starting out. This policy is a beneficial option for those who need to purchase multiple types of insurance products, and for whom General Liability and Property Insurance products are required or desired.

For Example…

If your practice does not currently possess any insurance types, a BOP can help insure against bodily injury or property damage that occurs on your property.

Medical Malpractice

Protecting Yourself From Common Lawsuits:

Medical Malpractice insurance is perhaps one of the most valuable insurance products a practicing professional can purchase. This insurance policy, also known as Medical Professional Liability Insurance, protects healthcare professionals from claims of negligence. This insurance is similar to a General Liability or Professional Liability Insurance policy. However, it is uniquely focused on medical-related claims.

You’ll Need This When…

You first open your practice, and at all times afterward. A Medical Malpractice Insurance policy should be at the forefront of insurance concerns for a practicing health worker.

For Example…

If a patient claims that either you, a nurse or another individual employed in your office gave them the wrong prescription, a malpractice lawsuit could occur. This insurance helps to cover liability in this case by providing legal representation and damage payouts if you are found responsible.

Commercial Auto Insurance
For House Call Professionals:

Although the practice of making house calls is much less common than in the past, some health workers still make house calls on a regular basis. This means that the vehicle used can be considered a work vehicle. For any work vehicle, auto insurance is a must. However, Commercial Auto Insurance could offer some unique advantages.

Consider this insurance over Personal Auto Insurance for the following reasons:

  • A Personal Auto Insurance policy may not cover accidents and injuries that occurred when the vehicle was being used for business purposes.
  • A vehicle used for business purposes may receive a tax deduction benefit.
You’ll Need This When…

You begin to use any vehicles for business more than half the time. This is especially important if you allow other employees to use a vehicle for business-related purposes as well.

For Example…

If you are injured in an accident while attempting to make a house call, a Personal Auto Insurance policy may not cover the cost. However, a Commercial Auto Insurance policy will likely cover it.

ERISA Bond

Financial Protection for Employees:

There may be a time when your business suffers from cases of fraud. In these cases, employee benefit plans may end abruptly. An ERISA (Employee Retirement Benefits Security Act) Bond, or ERISA Fiduciary Bond, is a required bond purchase for healthcare professionals who have qualifying benefits plans which depend on the business. Should fraud or dishonesty occur in the administration of those benefits plans, an ERISA Bond exists to ensure that employees are compensated 100% for whatever amount they were owed within the plan.

You’ll Need This When…

You have several employees at your private practice who are receiving an Employee Benefits Plan. This will include any retirement plan set up and administered by your practice for employees.

For Example…

If an employee who is responsible as the fiduciary of your company’s retirement plan embezzles money, an ERISA Bond will help you recover the money that was lost.

Additional Insurance Types to Consider

  • Directors and Officers: Directors and Officers Insurance, also known as D&O, is an insurance product designed for larger practices. Specifically, this insurance protects boards of directors from claims related to decisions managers made while in a position of leadership. This includes hiring and firing decisions, as well as decisions made regarding sexual harassment claims.
  • Medicare/Medicaid Bond: This product is required for DMEPOS (durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies) suppliers working with the federal government by providing Medicare/Medicaid-related equipment. Although it is unlikely that individual professionals or their practices will be producing medical equipment of this type, any professional whose practice provides Medicare or Medicaid services must ensure that medical products they are supplied by such companies do fulfill this requirement.
  • Cyber Liability: The increase in the cyber hacking of data and information makes Cyber Liability Insurance a significant need. In particular, all health workers running private practices should already be in compliance with HIPAA regulations. While purchasing a Cyber Liability policy will not aid in the Privacy Rule under HIPAA, it will help protect your private practice in case a cyber-related incident does occur.

How Much Does Insurance Cost?

The cost of insurance for healthcare professionals will vary. Full costs will depend on the number of employees within a private practice, the location of the practice, the type of medical services provided, and the nature of the business operations, among other things. Getting an insurance quote will provide better clarity in the total cost.

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