Cost of Emergency Room (ER) Visit

Emergency Room Visit Without Insurance Cost

Last Updated on August 2, 2020 | Written by CPA Alec Pow
First Published on June 20, 2017 | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popivker

The emergency room is the place where people go for immediate medical care, whenever they have an urgent medical problem to treat. The prompt medical attention is very professional and could potentially save your life, but if you don’t have health insurance, it won’t be cheap.

Depending on the state you live in, a visit to the ER (emergency room) can be quite expensive, especially if you’ll need expensive treatments or surgeries. You may be entitled to a discount or even a free service if you aren’t capable of paying because of your financial state.

But why do most people end up in the emergency room?

Here are the most common reasons for people to rush to the emergency room:

  • Shortness or impossibility of breathing
  • Severe injuries to the head or other life-threatening injuries
  • Severe or unexplained pains in the chest or abdomen
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • Full body or partial paralysis
  • Poisoning or intoxication
  • Intestinal bleeding
  • Unexplained rashes or high fevers for children or old people
  • Strong allergic reactions
  • Unconsciousness or coma
  • Medical problems of pregnant patients that could endanger the mother or the child

How much will a visit to the ER cost you?

A study by the National Institute of Health that was conducted in 2013 has shown an average cost of the emergency room visit at around $1,200. This average shouldn’t scare you, because you will end up spending a lot less if your problem won’t require intensive treatment or many days of treatment. As you might expect since 2013 prices continue to go up, which means that an average visit to the ER could possibly reach $2,000 or more in 2017.

Health insurance could be the difference between free and a high price for the ER visit. Check out the price of health insurance.

People with health insurance can get a visit to the ER covered if it surpasses $150, which means that they usually won’t be required to pay anything for the full ER treatment.

Costs expected if you don’t have insurance

If you don’t have health insurance and you are rushed to the ER, you might have to pay anywhere from $150 to $3,500 or even more for the treatment and consultation you will receive. It will all depend on your current condition, the treatments or surgeries you will require and any tests you will receive to get a diagnostic. On some isolated occasions, the cost for the ER visit has surpassed $10,000, but those aren’t all that frequent.

Here’s a real live example of estimated prices, provided by a reputable medical clinic that has institutions in most big cities of the US. These are the most common problems for people to get rushed to the ER and the prices are an estimation based on the claims received by the institution:

  • Earache $400
  • Sinusitis $600
  • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) $650
  • Upper Respiratory Infection $475
  • Acute Bronchitis $600
  • Pink Eye $375
  • Allergies $350
  • Sore Throat $525
  • Strep Throat $550

Does the Emergency Room have any alternative?

As you might have noticed, the visit to the emergency room, although very justified, it isn’t very cheap for a normal Joe. If you’re looking for an alternative, then you can check the urgent care centers. They can be a great substitute for hospital emergency rooms. The difference in prices in quite noticeable. Check out some prices you can expect at the urgent care center, to get an idea on the difference:

  • Earache $110
  • Sinusitis $112
  • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) $112
  • Upper Respiratory Infection $111
  • Acute Bronchitis $127
  • Pink Eye $102
  • Allergies $97
  • Sore Throat $94
  • Strep Throat $111

The final price of the emergency room visit will be affected by several very important factors:

  • The length of the Ambulance ride

Emergency Room VisitAmbulance rides aren’t free. You won’t be asked to pay when you reach the destination like you would be asked by a taxi, but the cost of the ride will be found on the summary of your emergency room visit cost. You might be asked to pay anywhere from $150 to $1,500 or more, based on the length of the ride and the treatment you will receive while in the ambulance.

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  • Doctor’s fees

A doctor’s fee shouldn’t be more than $150, depending on the severity of your condition. If you’ll get a fracture treated, then the doctor should charge around $300. Serious interventions or patients in critical conditions that require full attention will cost anywhere from $700 to $1,500 or more.

  • Medical interventions

Laboratory fees, diagnostic test fees, and any other services will have their own prices. For example, a suture can cost $200 if it requires complicated stitches. The medical institution will charge $500 or more for major surgeries. Supplies and medication will be charged separately from medical intervention costs.

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  • Location

Depending on your location, the US state where you are when you need medical intervention, the costs of the visit might differ, and the difference isn’t something to ignore. For example, a state might charge two times more than others for the same intervention.

Should the average working Joe got to the emergency room?

If you have a medical condition that requires urgent attention, then you should go to the ER without hesitation. Don’t think about prices or insurance, health comes first.

Alec Pow
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