Who pays for emergency room
Most people find the emergency room bills in America ridiculous. Why would they charge such incredible amounts for life-saving treatments? Note the irony in that statement. Life is priceless that’s for sure but sometimes we put a price to efforts of retaining it and emergency rooms are the perfect examples. Services offered in emergency rooms are extremely costly especially if the patient is in a critical condition and requires specialized treatment. From using highly sophisticated machines to hiring the services of top medical practitioners, it is not a cheap task operating an emergency room-The bills can therefore be justified to some extent.
Having noted that the medical bills can sometimes be high, the question of who pays for these bills arises. Research and studies reveal that over 50% of all people that use emergency services in America either don’t have medical insurance or can’t afford the medical bills from the emergency services received. Who then pays for these bills accrued by these people that visit the emergency rooms in America? Here are the top 5 ways through which emergency room bills in America are paid;
Medical insurance is the most common means of paying for emergency services. If a patient is covered by medical insurance, after receiving any form of medical care from an emergency service, the total bill is sent to the insurance service providers who then sort out the bills. They however don’t pay the entire bill as the patient is required to pay some co-pay depending on the medical insurance package the patient is subscribed to. There are different benefits attached to different medical insurance packages and emergency room services is one of the many benefits many people enjoy. Before paying the bill, insurance companies normally bargain with the emergency rooms until they get to a favourable amount before settling the bill.
- Medicaid and Medicare
There are people whose bills are covered by Medicaid or Medicare. Medicaid provides free or low cost care for some low-income people, families and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities. In some states the program covers all adults below a certain income level. Medicare on the other hand is the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease. The two are meant to support people with low income access medical care without much hassle. When someone receives medical care from an emergency room and cannot afford it, the emergency room chooses to determine the eligibility of people to sign up for either Medicare or Medicaid. If the patient qualifies for either of the two then they will receive the payment after proper paperwork is presented.
- Medical loans
The other common means of settling emergency room bills is medical loans. People with no medical insurance who pay in cash are forced to take medical loans to settle the debts incurred. The loans are normally offered at better rates than most normal personal loans. They also offer longer repayment periods and better times all round. You can choose to let the lender deal directly with the emergency room or make the payment yourself. The former is a better option because there are cases I know of medical loan lenders who have gone ahead and negotiated the amounts on behalf of their clients bringing the cost down significantly.
- Cash payments
There are people in America with good jobs and stable sources of incomes but have no medical insurances. When they visit an emergency room for any medical service, they are required to pay all the charges in cash. If they can afford to offset the bill all at once, then well and good, most emergency rooms accept cash payment. If they cannot afford to offset the outstanding amounts in one go, they can negotiate terms of payment with the emergency room and they can pay the outstanding debt in instalments until the debt is finally settled. Is it a wise decision not to have medical insurance though? Not at all! Insurance will cover a lot of things. There are lots of benefits and some of the bills will be negotiated by the insurance company themselves saving you from a lot of hassle and stress.
The final source of payment is what we refer to as compensation. These are amounts of money that are levied against people that are able to settle their bills to compensate for the debts left behind by those people that cannot afford their bills. The hospitals calculates the total debt left behind and divides it evenly amongst the projected number of patients that can afford the bills. In the end, taxpayers and other civilians help other Americans who are not as fortunate to settle their emergency room medical bills.