We think it’s safe to say that in your lifetime either through parenthood or as a child you have paid a visit to the emergency room for something that a simple band aid or ace bandage just can’t fix. In those situations, some of which are highly stressful, the goal is to seek immediate medical attention from the on duty doctors assigned to the ER on that particular day. During these times of chaos, your mind is racing concerned about the health of your loved one, you’re frantically contacting family and close friends to apprise them of the situation and not once do you ever stop and think about how much is this going to cost?

Traditionally as part of healthcare plan coverage, we are subject to emergency room co-pay which is absolutely acceptable. What we are not thinking about at this time is the ‘surprise’ bill you will receive in the mail several weeks later.

In a recent study of more than 2.2 million emergency room visits for people under the age of 65 conducted across the United States by several researchers from the Yale School of Public Health and the Yale School of Management (http://news.yale.edu/2016/11/16/yale-study-sheds-light-surprise-er-billing), they found that a staggering 22% of patients who went to ERs within their health-insurance networks ended up being treated by an “out-of-network” doctor thus resulting in an average bill of $622 not covered by their insurance plan. Despite being cared for at an in-network healthcare facility, physicians exercise their right for balance billing.

The end result now causes us to think twice about where we go to obtain the appropriate medical treatment based on the severity of the situation. For those non-life threatening injuries, contact your PCP or visit a local urgent care facility to obtain a diagnosis.

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