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What’s the average cost for an ER visit?

December 2013 UPDATE: New MEPS data indicates the average/mean cost for an ER visit was $1354 in 2011, and the median cost was $681. Over 12% of the U.S. population  had an ER expense in 2011, costing insurers and patients $52.14 million nationwide.

January 2013 UPDATE: New MEPS data indicates the average/mean cost for an ER visit was $1349 in 2010, and the median cost was $607.

April 2012 UPDATE:  New MEPS data has been released showing the average/mean cost for an ER visit was $1318 in 2009, and the median cost was $615.

The average cost for a visit to the emergency department was $922 in 2008. However, the median cost was $406, indicating a skewed distribution with much higher costs in the upper range.

In comparison, the average cost to an office-based physician was $199, and the median was $89.  Visits to hospital outpatient facilities averaged $1275 in cost, with a median cost of $254.  Hospital outpatient visits more often involved surgery, contributing to their higher costs. Office-based physician visits accounted for 91% of all ambulatory physician visits, but for only 64% of the costs.

Source: Machlin S and Chowdhury S. Expenses and characteristics of physician visits in different ambulatory care settings, 2008. MEPS [Medical Expenditure Panel Survey] Statistical Brief #318, March 2011. http://www.meps.ahrq.gov/mepsweb/data_files/publications/st318/stat318.pdf

Posted by the AHA Resource Center, (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

One Response

  1. [...] of a single person’s insurance was about $5,000 a year. The average price of an ER visit? $1,300. It takes just a bit of third grade math to figure out that when you factor in the out of pocket [...]

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