Posts Tagged - ‘er’

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ER Visits To Jump With More Health Coverage

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Image: aaron_anderer under CC 3.0

Most people would assume that an increase in the percentage of those with health coverage would result in fewer people going to the emergency room. After all, they would have primary care doctors and the means to get preventative treatment early. That was actually one of the arguments for health insurance reform.

Unfortunately, it may not turn out that way. ERs are actually likely to become even more crowded! There is a shortage of family physicians that won’t be remedied for years. Medicaid patients–not the uninsured–are the most likely to utilize emergency services.

A preview of what may be coming: emergency room visits increased by 4-7% in Massachusetts after that state passed universal healthcare reform.

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How Does Health Insurance Coverage Affect Emergency Room Visits?

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Image: Chris.Violette under CC 3.0

It is commonly believed that the lack of affordable health insurance results in more emergency room visits, many of which could otherwise have been avoided. However, a recent study shows that isn’t always true.

Here are some facts about the ER and insurance status:

  • Those who are between the ages of 18 and 44 and uninsured are more likely to have gone to the emergency room in the past year than those with private health insurance.
  • On the other hand, insurance status has no impact on how often the 45-64 age group visits the ER.
  • Children under age 18 also have similar rates of emergency visits.
  • Strangely, low-income individuals and families on Medicaid are more likely to resort to multiple emergency treatments than those with no insurance at all! This does not bode well for the prospects of healthcare reform, which will bring millions of new people into the fold through that government program–as well as through other means.
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Most ER Patients Have Health Insurance

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

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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