The Different Medical Indemnity Schemes in Australia

Insuring yourself against loss or damage can be incredibly important, especially if you work in a professional sector like the medical industry. With the potential for claims and compensation being sought after more and more, it’s never been more important for doctors to find reliable medical indemnity insurance to cover them should the worst happen during treatment or surgery.

With so many different policies available, it can often be quite daunting for a medical professional to understand the inner workings of the industry. This is why the Department of Health in Australia has categorized the differing levels of cover and indemnity to better benefit doctors, nurses and other medical professionals when it comes to cases brought against them by patients or establishments.

The Department of Health currently governs five authorized insurance bodies within Australia, all of which provide their own rates and features in much the same way as other insurers worldwide. These insurers are INVIVO, Avant, MDA National, Medical Insurance Group Australia (MIGA) and the MIPS. Unlike other insurance providers, these five are expected to operate under specific legislation as defined by the Department of Health. There are currently five health programs available to medical professionals, all of which are subject to their own guidelines and criteria.

The first policy is the Department of Health Package and its sole purpose is to provide doctors assistance with the cost of their indemnity. This includes solicitor fees, court costs and any required compensation. A doctor can choose to undertake this package whether they practice privately, or are part of a health organization.

The second policy is known as the Run-Off Cover Scheme, or ROCS and under this scheme the Department of Health  guarantees to cover the costs of any medical indemnity claims, as long as the doctor undergoing the case has left the private medical workforce. This scheme is typically subject to visa conditions and a doctor will need to be a resident of Australia or have an active visa to qualify.

The Premium Support Scheme is the next program offered and it helps doctors to cover the cost of their medical indemnity insurance. The fourth type of program is known as the Exceptional Claim Scheme and it’s solely for claims that require a sum larger than $20 million. This program is particular useful for doctors that may suffer financially if they cannot afford to pay compensation or court fees in larger cases. The total value of indemnification is 100% of the cost over $20 million.

The final scheme offered by the Department of Health is the High Cost Claims Scheme. This benefits both the doctor and insurance company as the Department of Health will reimburse up to 50% of costs for a medical claim as long as the total comes to more than $300’000. This allows the insurance company to recoup some of its losses, while providing the doctor with a lower insurance rate in the future as a result.

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