COVID-19 Malpractice Coverage FAQs

Coverage for volunteer services

Am I covered for volunteer services I provide at a hospital?
Be assured that we are all partners, especially during this time. Our HIC insured hospitals will cover you for your volunteer services during the COVID-19 crisis. Please reach out to the risk manager at the hospital you partner with to inquire about coverage under the hospital’s professional liability policy.

Telemedicine coverage

Will my coverage remain in force if I provide more telemedicine visits?
Yes. Telemedicine is included in your policy. However, you need to comply with state licensure laws for not only where you are physically located, but where your patient is located as well. HIC will follow any license expansion provided by state and federal governments. Visit the link below for more information on telemedicine during the COVID-19 crisis.

https://www.thedoctors.com/articles/covid-19-telehealth-resource-center

Coverage for practice outside specialty or scope

Will I be covered if I am asked to temporarily provide care outside my specialty or scope of practice in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
If you are asked to do something within your training, and are comfortable doing so, rest assured that your medical professional liability policy will follow. We’re committed to serving you while you care for all of us.

If my nurse or other non-physician healthcare professional offers services outside our practice insured by the Hospitals Insurance Company, will they continue to be covered under our policy?
Coverage will depend on the circumstances. Please contact your underwriter to see how we can help.

Business interruption coverage

Do you provide business interruption or crisis management coverage for losses incurred from COVID-19?
No. Your HIC medical professional liability policy does not provide business interruption or crisis management coverage. We suggest you contact your agent or broker to determine if this coverage exists on any other policy they may place on your behalf.

Coverage for home births

Will HIC cover home births due to COVID-19?
Given the current situation, if you are only dealing with your existing patients for whom you have provided prenatal care and you confirm you are following ACOG guidelines for home birth, you may perform home births during the COVID-19 crisis even if you indicated otherwise on your application. Please note, ACOG continues to recommend following existing evidence-based guidance regarding home birth. Review the guidance from ACOG regarding patients who are considering home births because of concerns about COVID-19.

ACOG FAQ for Physicians
ACOG’s Committee Opinion 697

Suspending, relocating, or reducing your practice

Will you allow suspension of coverage if my practice closes due to COVID-19 concerns?
Yes. We will suspend coverage on your policy, which also suspends premium. Please talk to your underwriter right away, so we can help you.

Will my coverage remain in force if I am temporarily practicing from a different physical location?
Yes. Please see the answer with the information about license expansion. You don't need to notify us about these temporary changes.

Will my coverage remain in force if I am temporarily practicing in a new state in which I am authorized or licensed to practice in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Yes. Your coverage will remain in force.

If I am limiting or reducing my surgeries, can I also expect a reduction in premium?
Your underwriter can evaluate changes to your exposure and determine whether a change in premium is warranted. Please reach out to your underwriter to discuss your specific situation.

Am I covered if I continue with my practice despite recommendations to suspend some or all of my practice?
Yes. We will rely on your professional judgment relative to your practice.

Will my coverage remain in force if I am temporarily practicing from a different physical location?
Yes. Please see the answer with the information about license expansion. You don't need to notify us about these temporary changes.

Premium payments

What if my premium or deductible payments are impacted?
Policy cancellation and premium installment due dates will be adjusted if your practice has been disrupted by COVID-19—to ensure there is no break in coverage if you are unable to make payments due to impacts of the emergency. During this time, we are providing an initial 60-day premium grace period upon request. For assistance, please call us at 800.982.7101, extension #3.

COVID-19 patient claims

Am I covered for patient claims involving COVID-19?
We understand that our Insureds have concerns regarding insurance coverage for COVID-19 related claims. Generally, our policy protects the practice of medicine and, subject to its terms and conditions, if a patient asserts a claim against our Insured involving COVID-19, we would anticipate that claim to be covered. However, because insurance coverage is determined by the specific facts of a claim, we are unable to provide answers regarding insurance coverage until a claim is made against an Insured and reported to Hospitals Insurance Company.

In New York State, you will also have the benefit of Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.10 that seeks to provide immunity to medical professionals from civil liability in connection with the Covid-19 pandemic. Updated information regarding Executive Order 202.10, including extensions of it effective date past April 22, 2020, may be found at the NYS Office of the Professions website at http://www.op.nysed.gov/COVID-19_EO.html, which currently provides as follows:

Temporary Suspension and Modification of Education law and Regulations to the extent necessary to provide that all physicians, physician assistants, specialist assistants, nurse practitioners, licensed registered professional nurses and licensed practical nurses shall be immune from civil liability for any injury or death alleged to have been sustained directly as a result of an act or omission by such medical professional in the course of providing medical services in support of the State’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, unless it is established that such injury or death was caused by the gross negligence of such medical professional.

The above NYS Office of the Professions link also includes additional information about other suspensions and modifications specific to the Education Law, Public Health Law and Title 8 and Title 10 of the NYCRR that may apply to your medical practice.