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Emergency Rooms Tack On Upfront Fees

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Why is going to the ER about to get even more expensive? According to ER doctors, too many Americans are abusing emergency departments and emergency care, and hospitals are no longer going to stand for it. On top of bills that may amount to tens of thousands, ERs will also be tacking on upfront charges for some patients. Who will have to pay these news fees, and are there alternatives for patients who do not want to pay them?

Who Will Pay For Immediate Care, and Why?

Doctors may charge upfront fees starting at $150 to all routine patients in the emergency room. What constitutes a routine patient? First of all, the charges will not apply to pregnant women, children under 6, and seniors. All other patients who have relatively routine symptoms, such as cold and/or flu symptoms, after a legally mandated examination will be asked to pay prior to receiving treatment or care.

Is this a good thing? Opinions remain divided. Some doctors view it as a welcome change. “These practices help reduce costs for both the patient and the hospital. We think this is appropriate, given that some people use the ER in a way it was not intended: as a source for routine care,” healthcare provider John Merriweather says. Even so, others fear it may deter people who need to see a doctor from leaving their homes.

Urgent Care Centers: The Inexpensive and Responsible Alternative To The ER

Luckily, there is easily a middle-ground — or a perfect solution for everyone involved. Urgent care centers provide immediate care for any non-life-threatening condition, ranging from sprains and strains to sore throats. Urgent care facilities are open weekends, late nights, and holidays — and select centers may even be open all day and all night long. Best of all, the average bill costs just $71 to $125.

Save money on immediate care. Avoid emergency rooms’ new fees — and the hassle of having to leave and go elsewhere — by choosing urgent care (first!) for all non-life-threatening conditions. Find more on this topic here:

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