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Patients May Face Big Bill Markup in ER, Study Finds

If you’ve ever visited an emergency room and then suffered a near-heart attack when your share of the bill comes after insurance is done, you’re probably aware that going to the ER is not cheap. In fact, according to Healthline, patients are charged 340 percent more than what Medicare pays for ER visits. And while some people think Medicare pricing is too low, others suggest it’s a truer reflection of the real cost of your care.

I’ve written about the absurd costs of medical care for years, and that’s a topic all on its own. But even more serious is what happens to people once you get in the ER. While people visit the ER for all sorts of reasons — many of which are under life-threatening conditions — statistics show that nearly 10,000 people who visit an emergency room will die within the first seven days of their visit, even after they’ve been discharged!

Many factors contribute to this, not the least of which is that wait times in the ER can be hours. From infections that you can pick up while you’re there to insurance rules that may send you home without being fully evaluated, it’s become obvious that unless you’ve been in an unpreventable accident, the best thing to do is to have a plan for prevention before you need the ER.

Preparation and better discharge planning may reduce both the number of emergency room visits and subsequent disability you might experience. Have an emergency plan in place ahead of time. Make lifestyle choices that positively affect your health. Follow a good nutrition plan and embrace choices that reduce your risk of needing an ER visit.

And if you need emergency care, take defensive steps to ensure your health and safety, meaning bringing someone with you who will double check the medications given to you and advocate for you, asking questions and staying aware of treatments and testing. Prepare a list of any medications, allergies, vitamins and over-the-counter medications you take, as well as any medical diagnoses you have, and take it with you. In this way you won't need to remember these details when you need emergency care.
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