More than half of nursing home residents would have to pay out of pocket for medical malpractice coverage if they got into a car accident or died in a workplace accident, according to a study published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
The insurance industry has already been grappling with the impact of medical malcontent on insureds’ finances.
In 2015, IHS calculated that nursing home insurance premiums in the US cost $9.3bn in premiums, and that the cost of medical liability insurance for nursing homes would be about $2.8bn.
The cost of covering nursing home employees’ personal injuries is also rising.
The costs of medical care in nursing homes rose by 20 per cent between 2006 and 2019, the study found, while medical care for the general population fell by 16 per cent.
But the report says nursing home premiums for the average resident could increase by an average of $3,700 in 2020 if they are covered by a medical malcontents insurance policy.
Insurers are now scrambling to come up with innovative ways of covering medical malcivities, including offering discounted rates to people who have an active medical condition and who are over 65.
IHS also estimated that premiums for a “typical” nursing home resident would cost $5,600 in 2020, with the cost for a typical family of three at $30,600.
Nursing home care can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
It’s also not uncommon for a patient to be discharged with a catastrophic injury, but not insured in the first place.
That’s because a nursing home has a limited capacity to treat patients who are seriously ill, and cannot afford to take them to the hospital for treatment.
“The problem is that most nursing homes are not equipped to deal with an unexpected death or an accidental injury to a patient that may be in the early stages of illness,” IIHS head of research and policy Andrew McKeon told BBC News.
“So a lot of people who are going to be on their way to the home are probably not insured, and they end up going to the nursing home.
When people are discharged, they’re going to need to be taken care of, and there’s a limited amount of time they can go to recover,” he said.
What are the key issues around medical malclaims in nursing home care?
According to the study, nursing home staff would be responsible for covering claims from patients who have no medical history, are unvaccinated and who die of unknown causes.
If a nursing care provider fails to provide adequate care to a person in the nursing facility, it is likely that the nursing staff will have to cover the cost.
According to IIHS, in 2020 there were nearly 4.6 million nursing home deaths in the United States.
The IHHS report says the US could be in for a serious crisis of medical negligence coverage in the coming years.
Dr Mark Mair, a senior policy analyst at the Insurance Information Institute for Higher Education, told the BBC that the costs associated with medical malcharges are increasing as the population ages.
“The costs of nursing care are growing rapidly, and nursing homes have become increasingly expensive,” he added.
However, the costs of care in hospitals are not likely to go down.
“The cost is going to go up and up and it will be more expensive, and the reason is because hospitals are operating in a situation where they have to manage more and more of the hospital costs,” said Dr Mair.
“They have to do more of that than they were before.”
What other research says?
The report estimates that if all nursing home and home care workers had medical maladjustments, the cost would be $2,300 per person per year.
That is more than the cost per person in Australia or New Zealand.
So how can nursing home workers protect themselves?
First, nursing homes need to develop and maintain a plan that ensures that they have the necessary staff and equipment to care for patients in the event of an accident.
Secondly, nursing facility staff should be educated on the best methods of covering injuries.
Thirdly, nursing facilities should be equipped with equipment that can treat patients in case of an unexpected accident, which would also allow them to prevent the unnecessary and expensive costs of treating patients who die.
Lastly, nursing care providers should have the right to deduct costs from insurance premiums.
A spokesperson for the Nursing and Midwifery Union said it was important that nursing homes were able to offer the same level of services as hospitals, but that it was vital that the health of patients were protected.
“We would welcome the IHIS study to clarify the issues around health care in health care, and to provide guidance on how to provide high quality care to all those who come to our facilities,” the spokesperson said.
“Our members know the