How Much Does an ER Visit Cost? | Consumer Health Ratings | Blog

How much does a visit to the emergency room cost? the short answer is a lot. a single emergency room visit cost $1,082 on average in 2019. visits by people without insurance cost $1,220 on average. visits by people under the age of 65 who had private commercial insurance cost an average of $1,642.

the image could be a little more expensive than you think. people who make an er visit can easily have another er visit or two in the same year. Including such multiple visits, the average cost for people who visited the ER in 2019 was $1,687. This was 10% more than in 2018. The “typical” median cost was $832 per person. if you push those costs forward to 2022 and add annual medical inflation, consumers should expect an average cost of more than $1,825 and a median cost of $900. the average out-of-pocket cost was $439 plus or minus about 25%.

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some groups have a higher average cost. for example, those without insurance who used the emergency department in 2019 had an average cost of $1,749. people ages 45 to 64 had an average spend of $2,285. average costs for people ages 18 to 44 were also high, at $1,830.

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vermont is one of the few states that publicly reports the base price of an emergency room visit. With only fourteen hospitals in the state, consumers can see on one page how hospital emergency departments compare on price. the 2019 base hospital charge averaged $341 for a lowest level 1 non-urgent visit, to $1,830 for the highest severity level 5. this price covers only the base charge for the facility and physician. if you need a lab test, an x-ray, an MRI, some fluids, something stitched up, or a lot of effort to save your life, that’s extra. Add the cost of each additional procedure to the base price. nationally, three-quarters of emergency room visits resulted in at least one blood test, x-ray, CT or other imaging test, urinalysis, EKG, IV, or some type of test (data from 2019[1]). it is very easy and fast to generate an invoice of thousands of dollars.

How likely is it that I will have a trip to the emergency department? perhaps more likely than you think. The CDC reported that 15% of children under the age of 5 had at least one visit to the ER in 2019. Shockingly, there were 123 ER visits for every 100 babies under 1 year of age. Age-related rates of er use were second highest for those 65 years of age. plus. one in five (21%) had an emergency room visit in 2019. By ethnicity, Native Americans and blacks were slightly more likely to visit an emergency room in 2019 than other groups. By income level, poor people were more than twice as likely as high-income people to visit the emergency room in 2019.

You may be interested to know that the higher your income, the more likely it is that you will incur a larger bill. the average expense for a high-income person’s emergency room visit was $1,451, compared to less than $700 for people in the two lowest (poor) categories. remember, this is only the “base cost”, not counting additional tests that are required depending on your condition.

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So, faced with a potential bill in the thousands, you’ll only want to use the ER if you need that level of help and urgency. an urgent care center might be a lower-cost option. and yet, the best alternative may be to call your doctor’s office to see a provider who has an available appointment space. the average cost of a doctor’s office visit in 2019 was just $287. your wallet will thank you.

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhamcs/web_tables/2019-nhamcs-ed-web-tables-508.pdf

This article was updated on June 15, 2022.

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