Alaska Optometrist Insurance Policy Information
Alaska Optometrist Insurance. Optometrists are doctors of optometry who specialize in diagnosing problems with vision. They prescribe corrective items such as eyeglasses or contact lenses, but generally do not make the glasses or lenses. Because they are not medical doctors, in most states they cannot perform surgery or prescribe medications so will refer patients who need these services to an ophthalmologist.
Some states have expanded the licensing of optometrists to include the administration of pharmaceuticals for examination purposes (DPA), treatment of eye diseases with pharmaceuticals (TPA), perform lacrimal irrigation and dilation procedures (TPL), treat glaucoma (TPG), and perform lacrimal irrigation and dilation procedures and treat glaucoma (TLG). While most optometrists work from their own private offices, some are employed by retail stores or clinics.
Following is everything you need to know about Alaska optometrist insurance as you go about the process of defining your professional needs.
Alaska optometrist insurance protects your practice from lawsuits with rates as low as $37/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Why You Need Optometrist Insurance
Once you graduate and enter your field, you're responsible for binding professional liability insurance. This is also known as malpractice insurance and all professionals who are licensed to practice should have this protection. More importantly, however, Alaska optometrist insurance coverage can protect your financial health and give you peace of mind.
Over the course of designing and implementing patient treatments, a lot can go wrong. Problems can occur as the result of human error or oversight, or you may find yourself facing various forms of frivolous litigation. All optometrists must consider the liability associated with any wrongful practices that cause increased medical expenses, property damage, bodily injury and death.
For doctors in this niche who want to practice medicine confidently, Alaska optometrist insurance is absolutely essential. This coverage will help you protect your personal assets in the event of lawsuits. This coverage is also an essential part of getting credentialed to accept various vision and medical plans.
Even a single lawsuit can be an incredibly costly and time-consuming experience. For practices without proper optometrist insurance, these events can be downright debilitating. When damaged are awarded in these cases, medical malpractice will cover the costs of these awards and your own legal fees.
Given the increased rate of frivolous lawsuits, and the complexities of providing medical care, the risk of facing litigation is extremely high among medical professionals. While there are countless insurance companies that doctors can choose from, every medical professional should do his or her own due diligence in order to properly vet these carriers. When conducting your research, bear in mind that insurers do not automatically customize malpractice policies to ensure that these cover the entire scope of state-allowed procedures in the policyholder's area. Keep in mind that there is nothing worse than finding out that you're only partially covered right when you have to rely on your plan.
General Liability Insurance As Part Of Your Optometrist Insurance Plan
General liability is an essential part of your Alaska optometrist insurance plan. This is especially true if your practice spends a lot of time physically interacting with patients and if you sell any tangible products out of your office space. Practices with binding contracts such as property leases or property loans may be required to have this coverage, along with specific limits.
Other Types Of Optometrist Insurance
Commercial Property Insurance - AK commercial property insurance will protect the physical assets that your practice acquires over time, whether your commercial space is leased or owned outright. This can include the building and/or contents. You should note that commercial property insurance only provides protection for covered events. Additional Alaska optometrist insurance coverage is necessary for optometrists who operate in earthquake or flood-prone areas.
Workers' Compensation - This Alaska optometrist insurance coverage will pay the costs of medical care for employees in the event of injuries that are sustained while on the job. AK Workers' comp will additionally cover lost wages and other expenses and services that could be essential for helping an injured worker recover and get back on the job. More often than not, workers' compensation insurance is legally required by the state for all businesses that have two or more non-partner or owner employees.
AK Commercial Auto Insurance - Whether your practice has a paid employee who runs errands for the office staff or a third-party company that's paid to shuttle your clients around, you will need to have non-owned or hired auto insurance at the minimum. This will make sure if your employee injures someone while doing company business - your insurance will kick in above his or her policy limits if the claim is big.
Alaska Optometrist's Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposure is moderate due to public access to the premises. To prevent trips, slips, and falls, all areas accessible to patients must be well maintained with floor covering in good condition. The number of exits must be sufficient, and be well marked, with backup lighting in case of power failure. Steps should have handrails, be illuminated, marked, and in good repair.
Parking lots should be maintained free of ice and snow. Housekeeping should be excellent and spills must be cleaned up promptly. Overhead equipment should be moved before patients exit examination chairs. The patients’ area must be designed for patients who are visually impaired following administration of eye drops. Escort procedures must be clear for all personnel.
Maintaining a patient's privacy is critical. Examination rooms, check-in and checkout stations must be in private areas so one patient cannot view information or overhear conversations regarding another patient's’ confidential information.
Products liability exposure is from the glasses or contact lenses that are prescribed and fitted. While the optometrist generally does not make the glasses or lenses, they will write the prescription and often sell frames as a service to patients.
Professional exposures are extensive. The exposure increases if the provider fails to conduct thorough background checks to verify employees' credentials, education, and licensing. The more procedures performed the more chance of professional loss. A patient's medical history must be checked prior to prescribing medications.
The optometrist must stay within the O.D. license and not attempt to prescribe medicine or treat diseases of the eye outside of their licensure and training. Glaucoma screening is a must for every patient and should be performed by a trained individual because early detection is vital to treatment and preservation of vision.
Workers compensation exposure is due to the possible transmission of disease from a patient. Gloves and masks should be worn at all times when working around any bodily fluids. Unruly or unpredictable patients can cause harm including strains, back injuries, and contusions. Since patient information and billings are done on computers, potential injuries include eyestrain, neck strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and similar cumulative trauma injuries that can be addressed through ergonomically designed workstations.
Property exposure is moderate due to the use of expensive diagnostic equipment. Ignition sources include electrical wiring, heating, and air conditioning systems, and overheating of equipment. All electrical wiring must be up to code and equipment properly maintained. A small fire which produces smoke can cause considerable damage when sterile equipment and environments are compromised.
Most property items are better covered on inland marine forms such as a computer form or a physicians and surgeons floater. The business income and extra expense exposure can be minimized if the optometrist has arranged for temporary facilities with another optometrist.
Equipment breakdown exposures are high as operations are dependent on diagnostic equipment being available. All equipment should be maintained on an ongoing basis.
Crime exposure is from employee dishonesty. The potential for identity theft is great. Background checks should be conducted on all employees handling money. All ordering, billing, and disbursement must be handled by separate individuals. Money and securities are a concern if payments are accepted on premises. Deposits should be made regularly and money should not be kept on premises overnight.
Inland marine exposure includes accounts receivable if the optometrist bills for services, computers, physicians and surgeons floater (which can include all office furnishings), and valuable papers and records for patients' and suppliers' information. Computers are used for patients’ records and other office purposes, but some diagnostic equipment is now also computerized. Physicians and surgeons equipment includes items that the optometrist may take off site to visit nursing homes or schools or to handle emergencies. Duplicates of all records and programs should be kept off site.
Business auto exposure is generally limited to hired and nonownership liability for employees running errands. If there are owned vehicles, all drivers should be licensed with acceptable MVRs. Vehicles must be maintained and records kept in a central location.
AK Optometrist Insurance
When binding any Alaska optometrist insurance, it's important to carefully define your needs, the required limits and any extra protections that reflect your practice's specific circumstances.
Alaska Economic Data, Regulations And Limits On Commercial Insurance
If you're an entrepreneur who is thinking about starting a business in Alaska, it's important to have a basic understanding of the state's overall economy before you set up shop. Regardless of how high-quality the products and services you are planning on offering may be, if the location where you open your organization doesn't offer a target market that your products and services will appeal to, chances of success are slim. Furthermore, if a workforce isn't available to support your business, you'll have a hard time staying afloat.
With that said, it's important for business-minded individuals who are thinking about starting a company in Alaska to familiarize themselves with the state's economy; it's also a good idea to have an understanding of the commercial insurance requirements.
Following is an overview of economic trends and commercial insurance policies that business owners are required to carry in The Last Frontier.
Economic Trends For Business Owners In Alaska
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Alaska was 6.1% in December of 2019. While that's significantly higher than the national unemployment rate, which was 3.4% in December, 2019, it's lower than it was one year prior, when the rate of unemployment was 6.5% in December of 2018. Though the workforce is growing slower than it is in other states, economists do predict that the rate will continue to decline in the coming years.
Despite Alaska's remoteness and cold climate, it's actually a great start to start a business. According to the Tax Foundation, Alaska is the second most tax-friendly state for business owners in the United States, as there's no individual income tax or state sales tax. Additionally, Alaska has the second highest rate of new business owners, as well as the second highest percentage of available employees (as per 2016).
As in most states, the best spots to start a business in Alaska are the state's biggest cities and the surrounding areas. This includes Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks. Other key areas that are seeing a boost in business development in recent years include Homer, Sitka, Prudhoe Bay, and Ketchikan.
While there are several industries that are experiencing growth in The Last Frontier, specific sectors thrive more than others. Businesses that are related to the following industries are booming in AK:
- Fishing, which is also one of the largest contributors to the state's economy.
- Mining, which provides more than 4,500 jobs in Alaska.
- Petroleum, which is responsible for 34% of jobs in the state. In fact, Prudhoe Bay is North America's largest oil field.
- Tourism is the second largest private sector employer in the state. Each year, millions of people from around the globe travel to Alaska to marvel at the numerous natural wonders that can be found here.
Commercial Insurance Requirements In Alaska
The Alaska Division of Insurance regulates insurance in AK. Alaska mandates very few forms of insurance coverage by law. They enforce worker's compensation.
Alaska requires you to have worker's compensation insurance if you hire even one employee on a regular basis. This includes part-time employees, family members, minors, and immigrant employees. It is not required for independent contractors or domestic employees, though you should check to make sure any contractors you have are true contractors, and not employees.
Alaska also requires all business-owned vehicles to be covered by commercial auto insurance. Other types of business insurance that business owners should carry depend on the specific industry.
Additional Resources For Medical Insurance
Discover small business insurance for medical and dental professionals. Medical malpractice insurance is a type of professional liability that protects health care professionals from liability causing in bodily injury, medical expenses and property damage.
- Ambulatory Surgical Center
- Art Therapy
- Assisted Living Facilities
- Blood Banks
- Dental Lab
- Dental Office
- Diagnostic Imaging Centers
- Health Maintenance Organizations
- Healthcare Facilities
- Home Medical Equipment Dealers
- Marriage & Family Therapy
- Medical Clinics
- Medical Laboratories
- Medical Marijuana Dispensary
- Medical Practice
- Medical, Surgical & Hospital Supply Store
- Mental Health Counseling
- Nurse Registry
- Occupational Therapy
- Osteopathic Physicians
- Physicians Office
- Plastic Surgeons
- Skilled Nursing Facilities
- Speech Therapy
- Substance Abuse Counseling
- Telemedicine Business Insurance
Health care providers are the most trusted individuals in our society. Ironically, they are the same ones who can do the greatest harm. They actually have the right to invade our bodies with knives and to poison us with chemicals - all in the name of health care and with the goal of relieving our symptoms and hopefully bringing about a cure.
While the actions of these professionals normally benefit us, insurance coverage must be available for the times when mistakes happen and things go wrong. These professionals and their facilities have extensive property exposures that are becoming more and more intricate and whose values are increasing exponentially.
The 'one size fits all' approach that once could have applied to insurance for health care providers and their facilities no longer applies.
Professional liability offers protection against claims of malpractice for all sums that the medical professional becomes legally obligated to pay as damages because of rendering or failing to render professional services.
Professional and medical malpractice exposures are the most expensive and difficult of all exposures for health care providers. The commercial general liability policy excludes these exposures so separate coverage is needed. Most professional liability policies are written on a claims-made basis and, as a result, tail coverage and retroactive dates are important coverage issues to be aware of when evaluating the insured’s coverage needs and comparing coverages.
The coverage provided is often called medical malpractice. For decades, many involved in the health care field and insurance companies that provide insurance coverage to providers have stated that malpractice lawsuits have created an ongoing crisis of restricting insurance availability, due to loss of insurance companies that write the coverage and significant rate increases.
As a result, state legislatures have taken the following actions to address the situation:
Imposed a dollar limitation of liability for malpractice suits.
Modified statutes of limitation to limit the number of years that a suit may be brought against a physician following a negligent act.
Modified when the statute of limitations takes effect. An example is beginning from a negligent act's occurrence rather than from its discovery.
Passed laws to modify tort law procedures and doctrines that relate to malpractice.
Because of differences in law by state it is important to know the states in which the covered health care providers are licensed and regularly practice. Some health care providers may practice in multiple states because of their particular specialty, their reputation or the demand for their services. Some hospitals may have ownership in facilities or provide services to patients that are outside of their main location state.
Minimum recommended small business insurance coverage: Business Personal Property, Business Income and Extra Expense, Employee Dishonesty, Money and Securities, Accounts Receivable, Computers, Physicians and Surgeons Floater, Valuable Papers and Records, General Liability, Employee Benefits, Professional, Umbrella, Hired and Non-owned Auto & Workers Compensation.
Other commercial insurance policies to consider: Building, Earthquake, Equipment Breakdown, Flood, Leasehold Interest, Real Property Legal Liability, Computer Fraud, Forgery, Cyber Liability, Employment-related Practices, Business Automobile Liability and Physical Damage and Stop Gap Liability.
Request a free Alaska Optometrist insurance quote in Akutan, Alakanuk, Anchor Point, Anchorage, Badger, Barrow, Bear Creek, Bethel, Big Lake, Buffalo Soapstone, Butte, Chena Ridge, Chevak, Cohoe, College, Cordova, Craig, Delta Junction, Deltana, Denali Park, Diamond Ridge, Dillingham, Eielson AFB, Emmonak, Ester, Fairbanks, Farm Loop, Farmers Loop, Fishhook, Fritz Creek, Funny River, Gambell, Gateway, Goldstream, Haines, Healy, Homer, Hoonah, Hooper Bay, Houston, Juneau, Kalifornsky, Kasigluk, Kenai, Ketchikan, King Cove, Kipnuk, Klawock, Knik River, Knik-Fairview, Kodiak, Kodiak Station, Kotlik, Kotzebue, Kwethluk, Lakes, Lazy Mountain, Meadow Lakes, Metlakatla, Moose Creek, Mountain Village, Nikiski, Ninilchik, Nome, Noorvik, North Pole, Palmer, Petersburg, Pilot Station and Happy Valley, Point Hope, Point MacKenzie, Prudhoe Bay, Quinhagak, Ridgeway, Salamatof, Salcha, Sand Point, Savoonga, Selawik, Seward, Sitka, Skagway, Soldotna, Steele Creek, Sterling, Susitna North, Sutton-Alpine, Talkeetna, Tanaina, Togiak, Tok, Toksook Bay, Unalakleet, Unalaska, Valdez, Wasilla, Willow, Womens Bay, Wrangell, Yakutat and all other AK cities & Alaska counties near me in The Last Frontier.
Also find AK local small businesses by General Liability Class Code and learn about Alaska small business insurance requirements for general liability, business property, commercial auto & workers compensation including AK business insurance costs. Call us (907) 531-9001.