Getting into an accident or otherwise experiencing an injury can be a costly process indeed. Potential repairs that need to be done, possible joblessness while recovering from injuries, and of course, the medical bills that one may incur from their emergency room visit, let alone any costs associated with recovery after the fact. What a lot of people do not realize, however, is just how expensive a visit to the emergency room can wind up being, even for something that seems relatively minor. We’re going to walk you through the process to grasp the national average cost for an emergency room visit and why, exactly, it is as expensive as it is.
What Is The National Average Cost For An Emergency Room Visit, And Why?
One of the most unfortunate things in the United States’ healthcare industry is the fact that people are a little reticent to go get treated for injuries or illness, primarily due to the sometimes-high costs of these visits and the treatments that follow. It is certainly a scary situation to have to be in, and not just for the risks associated with going to the emergency room in the first place. The situation has certainly improved in recent years due to improvements made to the system, but overall, such problems and complications still exist for a lot of people struggling with money.
When you visit the emergency room, the first priority of any hospital is going to be making sure that you receive every bit of care you need to ensure that your health and livelihood are kept safe and sound. This is great for the sake of your health and future recovery, but at the same time, them doing everything in their power to save your life means that you are likely going to get some pretty excessive bills as a result. If you want to receive the simple answer for how much you can expect to pay, either out of pocket, through your insurance, or a mixture of both, the average cost based on nationwide studies, in 2017 anyway, is 1,389 dollars. Despite the average cost, the actual cost for your emergency room visit can vary wildly depending on how severe the damages you incurred are. For instance, if you do not have insurance, an ER visit could cost you anywhere between 150 dollars and 3000 dollars. You can also be made to pay for the ambulance trip, which may cost more than 1000 dollars. Meanwhile, if there are any critical care charges involved in the process, you could see the cost of your visit being as high as 20,000 dollars. Something like this will definitely be a difficult process for someone without insurance, headlining the importance of having insurance to cover you for these visits. This kind of money can go to a lot of different things that you need to prioritize, the last thing you want to have to throw on that are the medical bills after an accident.
Certain areas are more likely to overcharge for an emergency room visit. The most common culprit are hospitals in the Southeast. Over the entire United States, however, markup of emergency room services can be as high as 12.6 times what Medicare paid. A big issue which makes it harder to solve the overcharging problem is that there is a sheer lack of transparency in the healthcare process, often by the design of the healthcare providers. After all, if you lack the ability to check on prices and have a good idea of what is a fair price, you are less likely to question why your emergency room visit was so expensive. One example of overpriced care in healthcare is a single Halls cough drop costing an exorbitant 10 dollars. Nothing special about it, just a normal Halls cough drop. There are even situations where they straight up try to charge people for emergency care that never even took place. This includes an incident where a woman, Jessica Pell, received a single ice pack and bandage after she fell and hit her head on a table, cutting her ear in the process. Despite the complete lack of actual care in this situation, she was charged more than 5,000 dollars for these two items. She was insured, but this emergency care location was not covered, so she declined and went to an in-network provider instead. Ironically, she did this to avoid surprise bills, and yet she found the most surprising bill she could have imagined. One can even find evidence of situations where a person doesn’t even receive as much as Pell did, some who didn’t even get past the waiting room.
One thing that is important to note too is that all these questions are important to ask for race too, because not all people are treated equally in the healthcare system. For example, due to lower-than-average income levels, non-white Hispanic and black Americans are far less likely to be insured than white people, due in part to the lack of access to insurance and a lack of insurance’s affordability as well. The implementation of the Affordable Care Act has done a world of good to help close these gaps between different ethnic groups in the United States, but the problem unfortunately still persists to some extent. The biggest obstacle is states refusing to expand their Medicaid programs, most of which existing in the Southeast. There is also evidence to suggest that black people receive worse healthcare; for example, in 2016, 42.8 per 1000 black mothers die from complications relating to childbirth. Comparatively, only 13 per 1000 white mothers die from these complications, less than 1/3 of that of black mothers. Granted, both are higher than average than most other wealthy countries, but one group is clearly less advantaged than the other. It begs the question for a number of people: namely, why is such a wealthy country, with such expensive healthcare costs, and with such significant technological advancements, lagging behind other comparable countries in terms of healthcare, especially when it comes to the matter of childbirth?
Recouping Financially After A Hit-and-run
For all too many people, an emergency room visit, expensive or not, is simply out of your control. Such is the case with people who were injured in a hit-and-run collision, who in many cases were taken completely by surprise by the injury they incurred from it. In this kind of situation, not only are you on the hook for those medical costs, insured or otherwise, for something that someone else was responsible for, you also have to worry about missing out on work due to the injuries as well as possible long-term recovery costs. With all the bills piling up, you may be completely lost as to where you can possibly recoup the losses you have incurred from this. The obvious answer to recouping these losses is filing a personal injury claim against the responsible party, but honestly, that’s a future solution, as unless you can get exactly how much you are owed straight out of the gate, you are likely to have to find another solution to your problem in the interim. It is even more over complicated by the fact that certain states have a thing called “no fault,” where your insurer is responsible for your damages even if someone else was technically at fault; once the payouts reach a certain threshold, you are then required to cover the remaining costs leftover. Your insurer may also cover your costs in non-no fault states. In this event, after the responsible party is found to be responsible, the payout you receive from the personal injury claim will be owed, at least in part, to the insurer or insurers who covered your medical bills.