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Most ER Patients Have Health Insurance

Image: taberandrew under CC 3.0

Contrary to common belief–which states that the uninsured pack hospital emergency rooms with largely nonemergency ailments, a new survey has found that the majority of ER patients actually do have health insurance.

In 2007, only 10% of visits were for nonurgent cases. That was before the recession kicked in, so the percentage may be higher now. Moreover, the insured and uninsured went to the ER at similar rates. On the other hand, high-income individuals (whom are the most likely to have insurance) were least likely to go.

The findings from the National Center of Health Statistics undercut one of the arguments for health insurance plan reform. They believe that the primary cause of ER overcrowding is instead the consolidation and closing of emergency departments over the past several decades, leaving fewer facilities for a similar volume of patients.

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