Based on 2011 data by the Health Cost Institute (PDF), the average cost of er visits increased by 5%, to about $1,381 per emergency room visit.
That is about a month of rent for some Americans. It remains above $1,000 per visit (average) nationally. This is much more than an average Primary Care visit to the doctor.
However, in the Obamacare health care paradigm, the frequency of er visits is increasing.
Why? PCP’s may be turning down patients because the Obamacare health plans don’t give a high enough reimbursement to physicians and clinics.
The above table by CareFirst.com compares Urgent Care costs versus Er costs, based on presenting symptoms.
A 2015-typical emergency room visit for a cough shouldn’t cost $1000, but the resources needed to run an emergency room department often require these charges: ER’s are equipped with modern technology, 24/7 nurse and physician staff that is specially trained for acute emergent situations, not to mention security staff for protection of patients, visitors and staff.
But there are even more startling developments regarding er costs that would shock most people:
There is a huge variation in the cost of each er visit: “Bills sent out for sprained ankles ranged from $4 to $24,110,” according to a report by the Washington Post.