On June 22, 2012 Governor Corbett signed Act 65 into law [SB 388]. The law goes into effect August 21 (60 days after it was signed). This law amends the Pennsylvania Dental Law to require dentists licensed in Pennsylvania to purchase professional liability insurance. Pennsylvania is one of only a few states to require dentists to maintain this insurance.
The law requires limits of at least one million dollars per occurrence and three million dollars per annual aggregate. However, it does allow dentists to be self insured. Until the regulations are passed, it is unclear exactly what proof of assets or solvency will be required to satisfy the self insured status.
What is required to under the law is to maintain insurance and provide proof of insured status upon license renewal. In order to be compliant with the new law it is important that dentists have insurance in place on or before August
21. The Pennsylvania Dental Board has the ability to refuse, revoke or suspend a dentist’s license for failing to
comply with this requirement.
Commissioner Katie True of the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs [BPOA] testified before the House Insurance Committee that requiring insurance would be beneficial to the public. The Pennsylvania Insurance Department also supported this law. In Pennsylvania other professionals that are required to maintain professional
liability insurance in order to maintain their licenses include doctors, optometrists, chiropractors, nurse-midwives and physician assistants. The question remains whether the BPOA and/or Insurance Department will push for the same or similar legislation for other professions or occupations. So far the requirement to maintain insurance is limited to the medical boards although it is interesting to note that attorneys must disclose to their client the fact that they do not maintain a certain level of insurance and this information is available online if you search an attorney's license status.
For now, we'll just have to wait and see whether BPOA attempts to expand the insurance requirement to other Professional or Occupational licensees.