As the federal healthcare law continues to be implemented, it’s vital to keep focused on how to reduce the cost of health insurance in Connecticut.
This year, state lawmakers can help reduce healthcare costs in at least two ways, including:
- Reducing medical malpractice costs by indexing pre- and post-judgment interest rates.
- Reducing the number of health insurance mandates--state laws that require certain health insurance policies to cover various medical procedures and treatments.
This article specifically focuses on the pre- and post-judgment interest in medical malpractice litigation.
In medical malpractice cases, pre-judgment interest may apply when offers of compromise are made but do not result in an agreement between the parties, and if the final verdict is more than the offer of compromise.
Post-judgment interest may accrue on the verdict awarded at trial if the verdict is upheld on appeal.
Index Pre- and Post-Judgment Interest Rates
The problem is, Connecticut’s pre- and post-judgment interest rates are currently fixed by state law and do not take into account current economic conditions.
Neighboring states, however, including New Hampshire and Maine, utilize the U.S. Treasury bill rate as the base for the pre-judgment interest. And Massachusetts bases its post-judgment interest rate on the U.S. Treasury bill rate.
Setting Connecticut’s pre- and post-judgment interest rates to an index such as the prime rate or the U.S. Treasury rate would be a straightforward approach to reducing costs associated with medical malpractice claims without affecting the jury verdict.
Indexing Will Reduce Costs
According to the state Insurance Department, 90.2% of closed claims were settled before trials began (Medical Malpractice Annual Report, April 2012). Of the cases that did go to trial, said the report, only 15% resulted in payments to the plaintiff.
This counters claims by opponents to indexing, who argue that insurance companies are trying to delay the process.
It’s unfair to set a high rate of interest that is disconnected from current economic realities. Reducing interest rates through indexing is a simple way to curb medical costs in Connecticut.
Indexing also will make our state more attractive to specialty practice physicians.
For more information, contact CBIA’s Jennifer Herz at 860.244.1921 or firstname.lastname@example.org.