Governor Signs Medical Malpractice Bill

JULY 11, 2006 - Posted at 8:00 a.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY, MO - A bill signed by Governor Blunt will give the Missouri Insurance Department more control over medical malpractice insurance rates.

The bill gives the state insurance director authority to veto medical malpractice rates that are excessive, inadequate or "unfairly discriminatory."

Unlike past proposals, the bill doesn't set thresholds for what rates are considered excessive.  Rates won't have to be approved by the director, but the director can reject them for a variety of reasons.

Supporters say the legislation is part of an effort to keep doctors in the state by reducing what they pay for malpractice insurance.

The bill also requires insurance companies to provide more information about how they set rates.  And it requires the state to publish market information for various risk types and a comparison of base rates for the largest medical malpractice insurance companies.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)