AVERAGE COST: $979
To treat an open wound, such as a bad cut from a knife or a spill on a bike that requires stitches, ranges, according to the study, from $29 to $25,863. That’s no joke, of course, since accidents and injuries are the leading cause of disability (and death) for people up to age 44. And a five-figure bill from the ER can throw someone into bankruptcy without too much trouble.
Even bills in the four digits are crushing to many consumers, the authors of the study point out. “Although many people depend on the [emergency department], obtaining acute medical care is increasingly becoming a significant financial burden as total charges for emergency department services continue to rise,” Hsia and her colleagues wrote. “To the consumers with insurance coverage, these growing charges result in larger deductibles and co-payments as payers shift toward increased cost-sharing.”
And, for the growing numbers of uninsured people who rely on the emergency room for healthcare, the higher charges come directly out of their wallets.
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