Medical Malpractice Insurance

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Massachusetts Surgeons 2024 Buying Guide to Medical Malpractice Insurance

If you are a surgeon needing medical malpractice insurance in Massachusetts, SURGPLI will work for you as your only trusted broker. Our insurance brokers have deep knowledge of Massachusetts’ medical malpractice insurance marketplace, plus they stay up-to-date on the state’s legislation and tort reforms that affect rates and coverage requirements for your surgical specialty. Use the information in this 2024 Buying Guide to get ready to discuss your medical malpractice insurance needs with a SURGPLI insurance broker.

Massachusetts reported a 16.7% increase in liability insurance premiums in 2022. However, because there is no cap on economic damages in the state, surgeons who practice in high-risk specialties need robust medical malpractice insurance. An independent SURGPLI insurance broker can help you shop for the best coverage and competitive rates in Massachusetts.

2024 Medical Malpractice Coverage and Rates for Massachusetts

Massachusetts law requires surgeons to maintain medical malpractice insurance with required minimum coverage amounts for claims against injury or death set at $100,000 Each Claim / $300,000 Aggregate. A SURGPLI insurance broker will work with you to ensure that you have strong medical malpractice coverage to meet the legal requirements of the state and your surgical specialty.

Massachusetts Estimated Malpractice Insurance Rates by Specialty

Each carrier uses its own proprietary methods of setting rates, which vary among carriers and specialties. Each malpractice insurance policy is underwritten individually, but the following are approximate rates across all Massachusetts locations to give you an idea of costs by high-risk specialty.

Specialty Approximate Claims Made Rate Approximate Tail Rate Approximate Occurrence Rate
General Surgery $45,000 $90,000 $55,000
Obstetrics and Gynecology Major Surgery $70,000 $140,000 $80,000
Orthopedic Surgery No Spine $40,000 $80,000 $50,000
Orthopedic Surgery Spine $60,000 $120,000 $70,000
Plastic Surgery $45,000 $90,000 $55,000
Bariatric Surgery $70,000 $140,000 $80,000
Neurosurgery $80,000 $160,000 $90,000

*Using the MA standard limits of $1,000,000 Each Claim / $3,000,000 Aggregate per year in coverage

Higher-risk specialties may need more coverage, and most hospitals in Massachusetts require physicians to carry coverage set at $1,000,000 per claim and $3,000,000 annual aggregate.

Also, if you need tail insurance coverage as a contracted surgeon changing jobs, you may need more coverage than the minimum required by your hospital. SURGPLI specializes in both medical malpractice insurance and tail insurance coverage for Massachusetts surgeons, so contact us for a personalized quote based on your unique needs.

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Get Medical Malpractice Insurance Quotes from A-rated Carriers Serving Massachusetts

Surgeons in Massachusetts have many good options for medical liability insurance. SURGPLI recommends carriers rated “A” by A.M. Best. These companies are A-rated because of their long-term financial solvency and a history of providing robust legal support for Massachusetts surgeons. Some of the top carriers include:

  • Coverys Group (ProSelect and ProMutual)
  • MedPro Group
  • The Doctors Company
  • ISMIE Indemnity
  • ProAssurance
  • Liberty Mutual Group

Save time and effort by getting a wide range of A-rated carrier quotes through SURGPLI as a single point of contact. Get a quote with us today.


Save time and effort by getting a wide range of A-rated carrier quotes through SURGPLI as a single point of contact.

Types of Professional Liability Insurance for Massachusetts Surgeons


Here is a brief overview of the most common types of medical malpractice insurance for surgeons in Massachusetts:

Claims Made Insurance
Claims-made malpractice insurance provides coverage if the policy is in effect both when the incident took place AND when the claim is filed. If a claim is filed after the end of the policy date, the claim is NOT covered. With a claims-made policy you need tail malpractice insurance, which is a separately purchased insurance policy or endorsement, to make sure you have full protection. Claims-made insurance policies “step up” as they mature, so the first year rate is lower than subsequent years.

Occurrence Insurance
Occurrence malpractice insurance provides coverage for incidents that occurred during the policy year, regardless of when a claim is reported to the carrier. Occurrence policies are more costly at the start of the policy, but the rate does not “step up”, and there is no need for tail coverage when the policy ends.

Tail Insurance
Since most malpractice insurance policies are underwritten on a claims-made basis, you will be exposed to a lawsuit if a former patient files a claim against you and you do not secure tail coverage. When you are preparing to leave your employer, you should seek tail coverage options with an independent broker like SURGPLI. Tail insurance covers you for a specific time period. The new employer’s policy is not going to cover you for prior acts of a former practice, hence tail coverage is needed. Read more about tail malpractice insurance.

Reach out to an experienced SURGPLI broker who will do the work for you to find a tail policy at a great price.

Understand Your Risk of Malpractice Claims in Massachusetts

Massachusetts has no caps on economic and non-economic damages, which makes surgeons more vulnerable to personal financial loss if they do not have strong medical malpractice coverage. Note that the total medical malpractice payout in Massachusetts was $183,291,300 in 2022. Here are some of the most common iatrogenic patient injuries that have been named in medical malpractice lawsuits against surgeons practicing in high-risk specialties:

Neurosurgery – Claims relating to laminectomy surgeries (anterior cervical fusion and posterior lumbar fusion), including: improper performance of surgery, retained foreign body, delay in surgery, and unnecessary surgery.

Bariatric Surgery – Lack of identifying and treating complications of laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy; bowel perforation during surgery.

Orthopedic Surgery – Post-operative implant and prosthesis infections; sciatic nerve injury in hip replacements; deep vein thrombosis developing into pulmonary embolism.

OB/GYN Surgery – Birth injuries caused by improper use of medical devices or techniques; profound brain injuries at birth; misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of fetal distress.

Plastic Surgery – Improper performance and poor outcomes of higher-risk elective cosmetic surgeries; surgical errors and negligence regarding post-operative infections, bad facial filler injections, uneven breast augmentations, and visible scarring.

General Surgery – Surgical errors, such as when surgery is performed on the wrong body part, or when a sponge or surgical instrument is left in the patient’s body leading to a post-operative complication or death; failing to close a bleeding vein or artery.

Check out the SURGPLI Medical Malpractice Insurance Blog for articles that discuss ways that private practice surgeons can best manage the risk of being sued for malpractice, as well as other information on medical malpractice insurance trends and legislation.

Tort Reform in Massachusetts

Notable tort reforms in Massachusetts include:

  • The Health Payment Reform Act, also known as the “Disclose, Apologize, and Offer” Law, was passed in 2012. Under this law, doctors are encouraged to tell patients when a medical mistake has happened, apologize for the mistake, and offer a reasonable settlement to resolve the matter. Payments made under this system are not reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank. If the situation is not resolved and is taken instead to court, the physician’s apology is inadmissible as evidence of admission of guilt.
  • A tribunal consisting of a judge, an attorney, and a physician must examine the preliminary evidence in every medical malpractice case in the state to determine if there is sufficient evidence to proceed with the claim. According to the Massachusetts Medical Society, tribunals screen out approximately 16% of all medical malpractice cases in Massachusetts.
  • Limits on plaintiff attorney’s fees are set at 40 percent of the first $ 150,000 recovered, 33 1/3 percent of the next $ 150,000 recovered, 30 percent of the next $ 200,000 recovered, and 25 percent of any amount exceeding $ 500,000.
  • Caps on noneconomic damages.

Massachusetts’s Damage Caps on Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

  • Economic damages (reimbursement for out-of-pocket losses resulting from the injury) are NOT capped
  • Noneconomic damages (reimbursement for pain and suffering, loss of life enjoyment, etc.) are limited to $500,000

It is important to note that in cases where there is a “substantial or permanent loss or impairment of a bodily function or substantial disfigurement or other special circumstances that would warrant a finding that imposition of such limitation would deprive plaintiff of just compensation for injuries”, plaintiffs CAN be awarded more than $500,000.

Massachusetts’s Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims

The following guidelines outline the state’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims:

  • An individual in Massachusetts is required to file a medical malpractice claim within three years from the date of injury or date of discovery (or date of reasonable discovery)
  • If the patient is receiving ongoing treatment from the defendant provider for the same medical condition, the three-year deadline starts when the patient actually knows the defendant’s negligence was the cause of injury (the discovery rule does not apply)
  • For minors younger than 6 at the time of injury, lawsuits can be filed up until the minor’s 9th birthdayFor minors 6 or older at the time of injury, the three-year deadline applies
  • The three-year statute of limitations can be paused in cases where the patient is incapacitated by mental illness, the defendant provider is living out of state, or if the defendant provider fraudulently hides the negligent action
  • The state’s statute of repose mandates that under most circumstances, a lawsuit must be filed within seven years after the date of injury

In addition to filing a malpractice claim within the designated time period, plaintiffs must also submit an “offer of proof” to a three-person medical malpractice tribunal in order to proceed with the lawsuit. The offer of proof must provide evidence that the defendant provider did not meet the appropriate standard of care and the patient was harmed as a result. If the tribunal rules that there isn’t sufficient evidence to take the claim to court, the patient is required to post a bond of $6,000 in order to proceed with the lawsuit.

The statutes of limitations for medical malpractice can be complex and can vary from case to case. Consulting with SURGPLI brokers who understand the ins and outs of this system is an important part of protecting your medical practice with the right amount of medical malpractice insurance coverage.

Need Medical Malpractice Insurance in Missouri? Request a Quote Today

Reach out to SURGPLI to ensure you have strong medical malpractice coverage for your private surgical practice in Massachusetts. Also, we help contracted surgeons secure tail coverage when changing jobs. Whether you’re a plastic surgeon in Boston, a bariatric surgeon in Springfield, or an orthopedic surgeon in Worcester, SURGPLI brokers will help you obtain coverage from an A-rated carrier.

Max Schloemann

About the Author

Max Schloemann is a medical malpractice insurance broker, focused on helping physicians secure Medical Professional Liability coverage. He helps Doctors and Surgeons, as well as Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, and healthcare entrepreneurs launch new medical practices across the country. Max graduated Magna cum Laude from Southern Illinois University College of Business and was named the Outstanding Management Senior. Max’s career in medical malpractice insurance began in 2008 with an industry-leading firm. Max founded SURGPLI in 2023 to help surgeons navigate the complexities of medical malpractice insurance in the new era of healthcare. Max’s wife, Kristen, a Physician Assistant, and their 4 kids (plus 1 dog) enjoy hiking, golf, and cooking.

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