5 Tips for an Easier, More Affordable ER Visit

5 Tips for an Easier, More Affordable ER Visit | Roger Stanmore MD, JDEmergency rooms (also known as an accident & emergency departments or the ER) are medical treatment facilities that specialize in emergency medicine. At these facilities, patients can access care without an appointment, and by way of an ambulance, or through their own means. They’re equipped and staffed to provide prompt treatment of those suffering from illnesses or trauma, requiring immediate medical care.

Likely, if you’re visiting the emergency room, you’re dealing with a severe medical issue. Ahead of the visit, you need to assure that you’ll be able to answer all questions about your health insurance and medical history. There are also some other things you should contemplate, with regards to tests, procedures, affordability, and access. Below, find five tips to better your ER visit:

  1. Consider the fact that you may not need to visit the ER. While you may feel that you have an emergency on your hands, you’ll likely endure a long wait and a spend a lot of money to simply learn that an urgent care facility could meet your needs at a reduced cost for less than half the time. The ER is best meant to service those with serious head injuries, seizures, stroke heart attack, and other severe pain –while urgent care units are equipped to treat everything from broken bones, to stitches, to burns.
  2. Educate yourself about your health so that you can share that you can quickly share that information with the hospital. No matter who you see for your medical health needs, be sure that you give the medical professional enough information, so they can properly aid you. Have medical history on hand when you arrive at the ER. Having your health history handy means having a list of your previous hospital stays, the past or chronic illnesses/diseases, allergies, medications/supplements, health problems in your family, and vaccines you’ve received. Consider storing medical records on an app –meaning that it can be easily accessed.
  3. Learn your ER rights, and make sure no one is violating those rights. Insurance companies are required to cover your care if you visit the ER with an emergency medical condition, according to the Affordable Care Act. There’s no need for approval ahead of your visit if your symptoms are severe enough that you believe you may be in danger.
  4. Rather than racking up a substantial bill at the ER, learn if your doctor can run those tests for you. Tests conducted in a hospital will cost a great deal more than they will at other places. If it’s at all possible to safely put off scans and tests, then you should wait until you visit your doctor’s office, where they will be less costly.
  5. Read your ER bills. Upon receiving your ER bill, immediately scan it to make sure that you were charged in-network costs. It’s possible that you could have been visited by a specialist, technician, or another professional outside of your network during your stay. Nonetheless, most plans will cover all ER fees during the cases of a real emergency. However, providers will bill you directly for differences between what your plan pays and what they charge. Either way, you may want to follow up with your insurance company.

    Remember to know your rights, review your bills and insurance reports, and postpone non-essential tests.