Soon You Could Be Paying Even More At the ER!

Urgent care clinics

Soon emergency rooms may charge you for care prior to treatment. A growing number of ERs are taking a stand against ER crowding and abuse of emergency services by implementing upfront fees — starting at $150! Establishments owned by the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) are the first to tack on the immediate fees.

Are These Fees Legal? Who Has To Pay Them, and Why?

Charging for immediate care is legal, and more ERs will be implementing these fees to discourage routine patients. How do these fees work? First (and most importantly), American seniors (ages 65 and up), pregnant women, and children under age 6 will be exempt from the fees. Secondly, emergency rooms are legally required to perform a medical examination. Following that screening, however, emergency departments can legally charge patients without a life-threatening or similarly serious condition. In other words, routine patients — with cold and flu symptoms, for example — will be subject to upfront fees.

Are these new fees and new policies ethical? Even healthcare professionals do not agree. Some doctors worry that patients will not get care when they need it or that seemingly routine symptoms may, in some circumstances, evolve into much more serious conditions. Others, however, think it is a necessary measure that will benefit patients and hospitals. “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,” expert John Merriweather says.

What Is The Better Option?

There is a much less expensive — and wildly more convenient — option. Urgent care centers and walk in clinic hours are extremely flexible, with centers typically open late nights, weekends, and holidays. The average urgent care bill, moreover, amounts to just $71 to $125.

Emergency rooms are about to get even more expensive. Avoid the crazy fees by going to convenient, walk in clinic hours instead. Read more:

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