IOMS Call to Action: New Pre-Judgement Bill On Way to the Governor
Read On for Important Update & Review of Bill...
Illinois Osteopathic Physicians and Medical Students:
The Illinois legislature recently introduced a new version of a prejudgment interest bill that is harmful to you and your patients. This new bill was introduced due to overwhelming opposition to the original bill in the state House. Unfortunately, this new bill is not is not any better. The Illinois Osteopathic Medical Society (IOMS) and the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) have been fighting back against this new bill in the state legislature (SB 72), and if passed, can financially ruin physician practices and puts patient access to medical care in jeopardy.
This bill allows prejudgment interest to accrue on the date the action is filed in medical liability cases in the amount of six percent per year, which could result in exorbitant professional liability insurance rate hikes and deter physicians from practicing or pursuing much-needed specialties in Illinois.
SB 72 was fast-tracked through both chambers in the state legislature and is now on the way to Governor Pritzker to sign. Can I count on you to send the governor an email? Tell him to veto SB 72 today.
In addition to using the link above, you may contact Governor Pritzker by calling his office at:
State Capitol, 207 Statehouse, Springfield, IL 62706
Stopping this bill couldn't be more important as we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thank you for your attention to this matter and for your ongoing support to the profession.
In addition to contacting the Governor (using the link above) before he signs Senate Bill 72, consider contacting your Illinois legislators regarding your concerns and request they also ask the Governor to Veto SB 72, visit: www.elections.il.gov/ElectionOperations/Districtlocator/Addressfinder.aspx
Let's Call the Whole Thing Off
Update on Pre Judgement Interest of Illinois
Written by: Mike Madey
Lo and behold, subsequently Senate Bill 72 was passed by both the House and Senate and now sits on the Governor’s desk. The differences between the two Bills can be boiled down to one major factor, the interest rate which has lowered from 9% to 6%. There are other small differences which favor physicians like the start of the period to calculate, however the 800 pound gorilla in the Bill is the interest itself.
You like tomato, I like tomahto…this is exactly what seems to be happening in Springfield as Governor Pritzker rejected House Bill 3360 calling for 9% Pre Judgement interest on certain liability verdicts (including Malpractice) in Illinois.
First, let’s revisit pre judgement interest and how is it calculated? Under the new SB 72, pre judgement interest would accrue from the time the defendant was properly served until the settlement date; on a $1,000,000 verdict, interest would accrue at $60,000 per year.
Lawsuit Filed in Dec 2021 – Notice Properly Served January 2022 (Interest Clock Starts)
Suit goes to verdict for $1,000,000 in Dec 2027 (6 Years Later) (Not Unusual)
Currently, most policies in Illinois are silent as to the handling of pre judgement interest. However, in other states, where pre judgement interest is written into the law, most insurance policies, include the interest as part of the limit or “within the limit”.
- Pre Judgement interest is $360,000 (60,000 x 6)
- Total Judgement is $1,360,000
In the above example, if you have a $1,000,000 limit, the defendant physician would be responsible for the other $360,000. As you can imagine, this leverage weighs heavily on the defense, and the insurance companies representing the defense, to settle out of court.
There is no doubt, if passed, this bill will add to the overall cost of malpractice insurance in a state which is already one of the most expensive in the country. Milliman calculated the impact of a 9% interest rate would increase the cost of a claim by roughly 50%. The reduction to 6% is better than a poke in the eye, but will still negatively impact physician insurance access and cost…to what extent is still to be determined.
With a hardening market and most physicians in the State receiving increased premiums at renewal…any additional increase is troublesome. If a physician wanted to buffer the exposure and add another $1,000,000 limit to their malpractice policy the cost could range from 30-50% depending on the specialty and territory. For other healthcare operations, there would certainly be additional complexity if the pre judgement interest is excluded from coverage or we cannot obtain additional limit.
I urge you to contact your local representatives and continue to put pressure on Governor Pritzker to veto Senate Bill 72. At a time when Springfield should be talking about tort reform, they are concentrating on putting further pressure on an already stressed system.
Potato, potahto, Tomato, Tomahto…let’s call the whole thing off!
Mike Madey is a Senior Vice President at the Horton Group (www.thehortongroup.com).
This article was written for the members of the Illinois Osteopathic Medical Society (IOMS). Published in an electronic email to IOMS members and constituents on 03.30.21.