Beware high hospital fees with freestanding ERs

Posted at 10:39 AM, Feb 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-04 11:33:15-05

Break a wrist, cut yourself opening up a can of soup, or you just don't feel well?

Before you head to that new ER outpatient clinic, we have a warning about the big bill that may result from your visit.

Newest Trend in Emergency Treatment

Have you seen all those freestanding emergency rooms popping up all over?

They're convenient, have plenty of parking and still have the name of your favorite hospital on the side without miles of hallways, crowded parking garages and all the downsides of a big hospital.
But a new report in Reader's Digestsays many visitors end up with a big surprise.

That's because they often cost just as much as the hospital ER, without all the specialists and high tech equipment.  

You still have to pay all sorts of hospital fees, and high costs for procedures, but if your problem is very serious, they don't have a trauma surgery room down the hall.

Reader's Digest says if it's just a minor cut, bruise or fever, look for an independent urgent care that could end up several hundred dollars cheaper.

The Out-of-Network Gotcha

And from the "doesn't that stink" file, an even bigger ER surprise: Going to an in-network emergency room but getting hit with out of network rates.

If it happens to you, you'll say "doesn't that stink!"
Reader's Digest says if it's not a life and death situation, ask if the doctor and anesthesiologist who are treating you are in your insurance company's network.

The difference can sometimes be a thousand dollars or more.

If it's an emergency by all means seek emergency care.  And go to the ER nearest to you.

But if minutes aren't critical, take a second and think about where you really should go, so you don't waste your money.

Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.

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