- An emergency room visit typically is covered by health insurance. For patients covered by health insurance, out-of-pocket cost for an emergency room visit typically consists of a copay, usually$50-$150 or more, which often is waived if the patient is admitted to the hospital. Depending on the plan, costs might include coinsurance of 10% to 50%.
- For patients without health insurance, an emergency room visit typically costs from $150-$3,000 or more, depending on the severity of the condition and what diagnostic tests and treatment are performed. In some cases, especially where critical care is required and/or a procedure or surgery is performed, the cost could reach $20,000 or more. For example, at Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital in Minnesota, a low-level emergency room visit, such as for a minor laceration, a skin rash or a minor viral infection, costs about $150; a moderate-level visit, such as for a urinary tract infection with fever or a head injury without neurological symptoms, about $400; and a high-level visit, such as for chest pains that require multiple diagnostic tests or treatments, or severe burns or ingestion of a toxic substance, about $1,000, not including the doctor fees. At Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center , a low-level emergency room visit costs about $220, including hospital charge and doctor fee, with the uninsured discount, while a moderate-level visit costs about $610 and a high-level visit about $1,400.
- Services, diagnostic tests and laboratory fees add to the final bill. For example, Wooster Community Hospital, in Ohio, charges about $170 for a simple suture, $200 for a complex suture, about $170 for a minor procedure and about $400 for a major procedure, not including doctor fees, medicine or supplies.
- A doctor fee could add hundreds or thousands of dollars to the final cost. For example, at Grand Lake Health System in Ohio, an emergency room doctor charges about $100 for basic care, such as a wound recheck or simple laceration repair; about $300 for mid-level care, such as treatment of a simple fracture; about $870 for advanced-level care, such as frequent monitoring of vital signs and ordering multiple diagnostic tests, administering sedation or a blood transfusion for a seriously injured or ill patient; and about $1,450 for critical care, such as major trauma care or major burn care that could include chest tube insertion and management of IV medications and ventilator for a patient with a complex, life-threatening condition. At the Kettering Health Network, in Ohio, a low-level visit costs about $350, a high-level visit costs about $2,000 and critical care costs almost$1,700 for the first hour and $460 for each additional half hour; ER procedures or surgeries cost$460-$2,300.
- According to the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality the average emergency room expense in 2008 was $1,265.
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- According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2008, about 18%of emergency room patients waited less than 15 minutes to see a doctor, about 37%waited 15 minutes to an hour, about 15% waited one to two hours, about 5% waited two to three hours, about 2% waited three to four hours, and about 1.5% waited four to six hours.
- In some cases, the doctor might recommend the patient be admitted to the hospital. The American College of Emergency Physicians Foundation offers a guide on what to expect.