Average cost 40% higher than month's rent.
Emergency room visits are becoming more expensive, and prices vary from hospital to hospital according to a recent study released by the National Institutes of Health.
Researchers found the average ER bill was roughly $12,000 – 40% higher than a month's rent in the U.S.
Dr. Jeffrey Kalina at Methodist Hospital disputes the findings, calling the numbers somewhat deceiving.
“Those may be real numbers, but that is a far cry from what is actually being reimbursed for that care,” Kalina tells KTRH News. “The billed amount for a procedure could be quite extensive, but again what is billed and what people see as their bill is not what is being reimbursed.”
Kalina says a bigger issue is speculation over Obamacare has many insurance companies scaling back their coverage, and hospitals somehow have to make up the difference.
“Now most insurance companies are reimbursing based on what Medicare pays, which is less than 10%,” he says.
Hospitals also are forced to provide emergency care regardless if a patient has insurance or not.
“If you have an emergency medical condition, the emergency room must, under federal law, stabilize your condition,” Kalina says.
The study found in one case, treating a headache cost $15 at one hospital, but $17,000 at another. Kalina says that all depends on whether a CAT scan or other tests were ordered.
He says patients without insurance sometimes pay out-of-pocket, and they're charged a discounted price similar to what is given to insurance companies.