Skip 
Navigation Link

1215 South Walnut Ave.
Demopolis, AL 36732 map map 

Access to Care: 800.239.2901

Health Policy & Advocacy
Resources
Basic InformationMore InformationLatest News
3 Million Americans Say They Carry Handguns Every DayMany Dermatology Guideline Authors Get Industry PaymentsDoctors Urged to Speak With Patients About FirearmsStates That Make You Wait to Buy Guns Have Fewer Deaths: StudyHomicides Devastate Black Communities, But Prevention Gets Little FundingBetter Patient Communication Needed After Urgent CareQuality Issues for Both Paper-, Electronic-Based Health RecordsRide-Sharing Services Could Cut Alcohol-Related CrashesLow-Cost Services a Major Player in Unnecessary Health SpendingMedical License Questions Sway Doctors' Mental Health Help'Heat-Not-Burn Cigarettes' Aiming for U.S. MarketFDA Approves Test to Screen Donated Blood for Zika21 Percent of Americans Report Experiencing a Medical ErrorUber Can Help Cut Car Crashes, But Not EverywhereThe Unexpected Faces of the UninsuredHealth Tip: Giving BloodCommunication Program Doesn't Raise Hospital Liability CostsSame Pregnancy Meds Can Cost $200 -- or $11,000Americans More Open About Mental Health Issues, But Stigma Lingers1 in 5 Have Been Hit By a Medical Error, Survey ShowsOpioid Manufacturers to Provide Doctor TrainingPatients' E-Records Still Not Widely AvailableU.S. Gun Injuries Nearing $3 Billion in ER, Hospital CostsState Laws Can Promote Hepatitis C Virus ScreeningTeens Mixed Up With the Law May Fall Through Medicaid CracksState Policies Can Reduce Alcohol-Related MurdersCDC Launches Opioid Campaign in Hard-Hit StatesU.S. Pays a Hefty Price for ObesityBlacks, Elderly Missing From U.S. Cancer Clinical TrialsFood Stamp Benefits May Lower Health Care CostsDrone Sets New Record for Transporting Blood SamplesGun Injuries Add Millions of Dollars to Hospital CostsACP Does Not Support Legalization of Assisted SuicideAAP: Few Doctors Provide Firearm Injury Prevention Info in ER9 of 10 Docs Unprepared to Prescribe MarijuanaThis Mistake Can Cost Athletes' Lives in Cardiac ArrestDrills Assess ER Response to Communicable DiseaseDo Nursing Home Workers Change Gloves Often Enough?Minorities Exposed to Dirtier Air, U.S. Study FindsPhysicians Tweeting About Drugs May Have Conflict of InterestHealth Tip: Overcoming the Obesity EpidemicU.S. Military Surgeons Helped More Than 6,000 Afghan AdultsWhat You Can Do to Help Fight the Opioid EpidemicAre Physicians Obligated to Help on Planes?Median Cost of Cancer Drug Development $648.0 MillionDoes Study Claim a Cure? Beware of Scientific 'Spin'Vaccine Campaign in Poor Countries to Save 20 Million LivesThird Dose of MMR Vaccine Could Help Curb Mumps OutbreaksDocs Should Be Aware of Family Beliefs Regarding NondisclosureIncrease in Medical Exemptions From Immunization in California
Questions and AnswersVideosLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Health Insurance
Healthcare

Overcharging Common in U.S. Emergency Rooms

HealthDay News
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: Jun 2nd 2017

new article illustration

FRIDAY, June 2, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Americans are routinely overcharged for emergency room care, and minority and uninsured patients are most likely to face this "price gouging," a new report suggests.

For the study, researchers analyzed 2013 billing records for more than 12,000 emergency medicine doctors nationwide.

On average, adult emergency department patients were charged 340 percent more than what Medicare pays for care ranging from stitches to a CT scan, the investigators said.

"Our study found that inequality is then further compounded on poor minority groups, who are more likely to receive services from hospitals that charge the most," said study senior investigator Dr. Martin Makary. He is a professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Overall, charges ranged from 1 to 12.6 times ($100 to $12,600) more than what Medicare paid for services, the study findings showed.

Emergency departments with the highest fees were most often in for-profit hospitals in the southeastern and midwestern United States. These facilities were also more likely to serve higher numbers of uninsured, black and Hispanic patients, the researchers said.

"There are massive disparities in service costs across emergency rooms, and that price gouging is the worst for the most vulnerable populations," Makary said in a university news release.

"This study adds to the growing pile of evidence that to address the huge disparities in health care, health-care pricing needs to be fairer and more transparent," he said.

The findings also show the need for legislation to protect uninsured patients, the study authors said.

According to first author Tim Xu, "This is a health-care systems problem that requires state and federal legislation to protect patients." Xu is a fourth-year medical student at Johns Hopkins.

"New York has passed a law that requires hospital and insurance companies to agree on a cost for the care so patients are not billed egregious amounts. Patients really have no way of protecting themselves from these pricing practices," Xu added.

Makary said at least seven states have passed some form of legislation to protect uninsured patients, but he believes national regulation is needed.

The study was published May 30 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine outlines when adults should go to the emergency department.