Uninsured, Minorities Face Highest Emergency Room Bills
By Consumers for Quality Care, on June 6, 2017
A new study from the Journal of the American Medical Association found that uninsured individuals and minority groups are often the highest billed emergency room patients. As Vox reports:
Welcome to the arcane and arbitrary world of billing practices at US hospitals today, as detailed in a new JAMA Internal Medicine study. The researchers, from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, uncovered wild variation in the charging practices of hospital emergency rooms, and found that vulnerable patients — uninsured people, minority groups — are more likely to be hit with the highest bills.
In some cases, patients were charged 340 percent more than what Medicare would pay.
The markups they discovered were staggering. Overall, patients were being charged 340 percent more than what Medicare pays, meaning emergency medicine physicians bill $4 billion overall for the same services Medicare would pay only $898 million for. The markups ranged anywhere from $100 to $12,600 per service, depending on the hospital, with an average markup of $420.