After our post about Ella Moser’s $5,000 trip to the emergency room for a stomachache, we got a lot of questions about how to avoid a similar backbreaking bill. Well, the simple answer is, avoid going to the emergency room in the first place.
Okay, obviously, there are genuine emergencies which you really can’t help, but a major chunk of emergency room visits can be avoided, and they should be avoided. As much as 25% of emergency room visits aren’t for emergencies at all. And we’re not talking about things that seem like emergencies but really aren’t. We’re talking coughs, fevers, sprained ankles, ear infections, allergies, etc., all things that could easily be taken care of in a doctor’s office.
And it would be much, much cheaper to get them taken care of in a doctor’s office. Once you go to an emergency room, the cost of care can be four to five times more than it would be if you went to a doctor’s office. And depending on how busy the emergency room is, you may be waiting four or five hours for that very expensive care too.
Of course, we know that it’s much easier said than done to make an appointment with most doctors these days. But before you head on down to the emergency room for that stomachache, you might want to consider giving your nurse helpline a call and/or taking a trip to a walk-in clinic like the CVS Minute Clinics.
Have you been to the emergency room lately? Tell us about it in our discussion forums!
- Emergency! Emergency! How to be Smart About Using the Emergency Room
- Emergency! Emergency! Emergency Room Medical Care for the Uninsured
- Do You Really Need to Take Your Kid To the Emergency Room?
- Healthcare Reform and the Emergency Room: Will Healthcare Reform Help Me If I Have an Emergency?
- Is Your Local Emergency Room in Your Health Insurance Network?