For Consumers

New insurance coverage approved to help doctors who face criminal charges for providing legal abortions

Contact Public Affairs: 360-725-7055

September 27, 2022

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s office has approved coverage requested by Physicians Insurance A Mutual of Seattle (Physicians) to reimburse its policyholders for legal fees and expenses incurred defending against a criminal action that comes from providing direct patient care, including performing abortions. 

Abortion is legal in Washington state, but patients from other states may seek treatment here if their state outlaws the procedure. 

“My office will do everything it can to counter attacks on reproductive health and the physicians who provide essential care," said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “As states like Texas threaten legal and criminal action against physicians, the OIC is determined to counter this by assisting medical malpractice insurers wherever we can.”

The approved policy rider provides up to $250,000 in coverage to reimburse a covered provider for the legal costs spent successfully defending against criminal charges involving direct patient care. Under the new coverage, criminal action is defined as: 

  • A criminal proceeding following an arrest or indictment;
  • An official request for extradition; or
  • A criminal or regulatory investigation including a medical board

Physicians is the largest medical malpractice insurer in Washington state with more than 50% of the market. This new coverage is optional and will be available starting Jan.1, 2023.