Acupuncture can provide lasting relief for people suffering from chronic pain. However, as an acupuncturist, you know that acupuncture can be a delicate procedure. It’s possible to cause ham, or for a patient to think you caused them harm. Either way, you should look into acupuncture malpractice insurance.
- 6 best malpractice insurance companies for acupuncturists
- What is acupuncture malpractice insurance?
- What does malpractice insurance for acupuncturists cover?
- How much is malpractice insurance for acupuncturists?
- What affects the cost of acupuncture malpractice insurance?
- How can I save money on acupuncture malpractice insurance?
Here are our top six choices for malpractice insurance for acupuncturists.
6 best malpractice insurance companies for acupuncturists
- CoverWallet: Best for comparing quotes
- American Acupuncture Council: Best for affordable coverage
- CM&F: Best Overall
- Berxi: Best for financial strength
- HPSO: Best for part-timers
- MIEC: Best for dividends
CoverWallet: Best for comparing quotes
CoverWallet is convenient because you can get up to three quotes and you only need to fill out one form. They work with insurance companies such as Liberty Mutual, Hiscox, Progressive, Markel and Employers. They ask you about your revenue and how your business is set up (sole proprietor, LLC, corporation, etc.) as well as details about what services you provide. Once you purchase the insurance, you can keep all of your policies in the same “wallet” which is convenient for small business owners and helps keep you organized.
CoverWallet will give you up to three quotes, but as we see here, sometimes they only come back with one quote.
The quote we got from Hiscox through CoverWallet appears to be the most expensive one. However, the policy is also the most comprehensive coverage with many inclusions, especially blanket additional insured inclusion. If you own an acupuncture practice and you want to add another 3-10 acupuncturists to your policy, you can do that without additional cost.
American Acupuncture Council: Best for affordable coverage
The American Acupuncture Council has over 30 years of experience in providing insurance for acupuncturists. You can get a quote in just minutes by filling out some basic information: name, phone number, and zip code where you work. There is a disclaimer, that states your actual rate may be more or less depending on things like whether you are currently insured, how many patients you see in a week, and if you’ve ever had any claims filed against you.
You can also save up to 30% on rates if you have your patients sign a waiver when they come to see you. This quote is for a $2M/$4 M dollar policy ($2 million per occurrence and $4 million per year).
CM&F: Best Overall
CM&F offers professional liability insurance for acupuncturists, with coverage options up to $2 million per claim. They offer telemedicine coverage, and their coverage insures you wherever you go: if you moonlight in another facility, you’re still covered.
CM&F asks more questions than the American Acupuncture Council, but they still manage to come up with a quote in less than three minutes. You’ll have to tell them whether you work full or part-time and if you graduated within the last year. It also asks you if you’re a member of any professional organizations.
Berxi: Best for financial strength
Berxi provides medical malpractice insurance and E&O insurance (which is the same thing, just for different professions). They claim you can save up to 20% by buying a policy through them. If the name didn’t give it away, they are part of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway company, so they have excellent financial strength. Getting an online quote is pretty easy as well.
HPSO: Best for part-timers
HPSO offers coverage for malpractice lawsuits, license protection, deposition representation, subpoena requests and more. You take your coverage with you wherever you work, so you’re always insured. They have over 40 years of experience providing coverage for healthcare professions, so you’re in good hands. If you only work part-time, they calculate your rate based on the number of hours worked.
You can choose to get covered as an individual, as a practice owner, or as a student. To get a quote, you have to download an application and then email it back to them. Students get up to a 60% discount on coverage.
MIEC: Best for dividends
MIEC is an insurance company run by physicians, for physicians. They are owned by their policyholders. When you buy an insurance policy through MIEC, you are automatically a part of the organization. Because of this, rates are low and stable, and they give profits back to the shareholders (i.e. you).
They do offer online quoting, but whenever we tried to get a quote, the website would just spin…and spin…and spin, and no quote ever appeared. That said, they do have an excellent track record, with 90% of claims closed without payment, and they’ve been in business for over 40 years.
What is acupuncture malpractice insurance?
Since acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into a patient’s skin, there are some risks to the procedure. According to Insureon, acupuncturists typically get claims filed against them for the following reasons:
- Failure to refer
- Improper technique
- Failure to sterilize equipment
Failure to refer means you should have referred the patient to a specialist but you didn’t. Improper technique means you caused injury to the patient through poor practice, such as nerve damage or damage to internal organs. And of course, you should always sterilize your equipment.
Malpractice insurance protects you from lawsuits filed by patients. It’s important to remember, you don’t have to have injured a patient in any way, they just have to think that you did.
What does malpractice insurance for acupuncturists cover?
Malpractice insurance (also called E&O insurance in other professions) protects you from mistakes you made or something you failed to do as an acupuncturist. Lawsuits can be quite costly: a Portland man sued for $3 million dollars when he claimed two needles were left in his skin and one became embedded. That may be an extreme case, but patients are vulnerable and in pain, and sometimes they lash out.
What doesn’t it cover?
Just because you have insurance doesn’t mean you’re bulletproof. Malpractice insurance doesn’t cover things like:
- Illegal acts
- Intentional acts
- Misrepresentation (if you say you’re licensed but you aren’t)
- Sexual misconduct
What is the difference between claims made and occurrence insurance?
A claims made policy allows you to report a claim while the policy is active, whereas an occurrence policy covers you for the time period, no matter when the case is filed.
An example will help illustrate the difference. Joe Acupuncturist is working on Sue in December of 2017 and accidentally causes nerve damage. Sue gives herself time to recover, but the more she thinks about it, the more convinced she is that she should sue. She files a lawsuit in January of 2019. In the meantime, Joe has decided to pursue another line of work and no longer has malpractice insurance as of December of 2018.
If Joe had a claims made policy, he would be on the hook for the lawsuit because he did not have insurance when Sue filed the claim. If he had an occurrence policy, he would be covered because he had insurance at the time the incident occurred.
Claims made policies are less expensive, but occurrence policies give you more protection.
There is also something called tail coverage, which you can attach to a claims made policy. This is especially valuable for people who are leaving the field or are retiring. It essentially turns your claims made policy into an occurrence policy for the time listed. You can only buy tail coverage on a claims made policy, and only after the policy expires. You can get one for as long as the stature of limitation is in your state.
How much is malpractice insurance for acupuncturists?
The average cost of malpractice insurance for acupuncturists is about $30 a month, or $360 a year (for a $750,000 limit per occurrence policy with a deductible of $500). The actual cost varies by providers.
Below is the summary table of the acupuncture malpractice insurance cost from the top 4 providers:
|Providers||Acupuncture malpractice insurance cost|
|Hiscox (through CoverWallet)||$106/month|
|American Acupuncture Council||$119/year|
What affects the cost of acupuncture malpractice insurance?
Not everyone pays the same amount of money for a malpractice insurance policy. Things that will affect your rate include:
- Amount of coverage
- Claims history
- Size of your practice
- Risk factors (do you have patients sign a waiver, etc)
- How long you’ve been in practice
How can I save money on acupuncture malpractice insurance?
The best way to save money on insurance (of any kind) is to shop around. Different companies may quote dramatically different prices for the same policy. Get at least three quotes before you purchase a policy.
You can also ask about discounts. Many companies offer professional organization discounts. These generally save you between 5-10%. If you are part of a group of acupuncturists or other medical professionals, you may qualify for a group rate.
Follow safe practices. Make sure patients know what to expect from the procedure. Have patients sign a waiver, stating they understand the risks.
Acupuncture is part of an ancient practice, and it’s getting more popular every day. It’s used to treat pain, nausea, headaches, addiction, and even asthma. However, it’s not without its risks. Make sure you protect yourself and your practice by getting malpractice insurance, so you can continue to provide quality care for years to come.