Accidents happen, and when they do, we typically go to the Emergency Room (ER) for treatment. Unfortunately, the cost of an ER visit can be quite steep. In this article, we will explore how much an ER visit may cost you and factors that determine the cost.
The Average Cost of an ER Visit
The cost of an ER visit will depend on a few factors, such as the severity of your condition, the type of services you need, and where you live. According to a 2018 study from the Health Care Cost Institute, the average price of an ER visit was $1,389, excluding medication costs.
Emergency Room Services Included in the Cost
- Consultation with the doctor
- X-rays, CT Scans or MRI if needed
- Lab tests and blood work
- Sutures or casts
- Bandages, gauzes, slings
Additional Costs that may Contribute to Your Overall Bill
If you have health insurance, the cost of your ER visit will depend on your insurance policy. Some health insurance plans have higher deductibles or copayments for ER visits than for regular doctor visits. Here are additional charges that may increase the cost of your visit:
- Ambulance fees (if an ambulance was needed to transport you to the ER)
- Prescriptions written by the doctor
- Emergency medicine (if required)
- Use of medical equipment such as crutches
- Emergency surgeries (if necessary)
Factors that Influence the Cost of an ER Visit
The Hospital You Choose
The cost of your ER visit will depend on the hospital you choose. Hospitals located in urban areas tend to have higher costs than those in rural areas. Some hospitals are part of larger networks that accept insurance plans, while others may not.
The Severity of Your Condition
The severity of your condition will affect the cost of your visit. If you require additional services such as a CT scan or surgery, the cost will be higher. Prices will vary based on the complexity of the case and the length of your stay at the hospital.
Your Health Insurance Policy
Your health insurance policy will have a significant impact on the cost of your ER visit. Some plans have higher deductibles or copayments for ER visits than for regular doctor visits. Additionally, some insurance plans may not cover certain hospital networks, provider networks, or specialty care.
How to Lower Your ER Visit Costs
Choose Care Wisely
If it is not an emergency, consider other alternatives before visiting the ER. For example, if you have back pain, you can visit a chiropractor or a physical therapist instead of the ER. Scheduled visits are usually less expensive than emergency visits.
Understand Your Insurance Policy
Understand your insurance policy and what it covers. Some insurance plans have high deductibles, which means you will have to pay a large sum out of pocket before the insurance company starts paying. If you have a high deductible plan, you might want to consider a health savings account (HSA) or a flexible spending account (FSA).
Consider Urgent Care Centers
Urgent care centers offer many of the same services as the ER, but they charge less for their services. The average cost of an urgent care center service visit is around $150, compared to the $1,389 average cost of an ER visit. If your condition is not life-threatening, and you don’t have any serious symptoms, an urgent care center visit may be the better choice.
ER visits can be costly, but many factors determine the cost you will ultimately pay. Understanding what you’ll pay for the ER visit, understanding your insurance policy and setting up a payment plan are critical to managing your emergency visit.
List of Common Questions and Answers
- Q: How much does an ER visit cost on average?
- A: According to a 2018 study by the Health Care Cost Institute, the average cost of an ER visit was $1,389.
- Q: Will insurance pay for the cost of an ER visit?
- A: It depends on your insurance policy, but most policies will cover part or all of the cost of an ER visit.
- Q: Can I negotiate the cost of an ER visit?
- A: Yes, some hospitals may offer discounts or payment plans that can help reduce the cost of your ER visit.
- Q: Can I go to an urgent care center instead of the ER?
- A: If your condition is not life-threatening and you don’t have any serious symptoms, an urgent care center visit may be the better choice.
- Q: How do I know which hospital to go to for an ER visit?
- A: Look for a hospital that is covered by your insurance plan and has enough resources to handle your medical emergency.