Save thousands, don’t overpay for care at free standing ER’s

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It can be alarming when you have a sudden illness or injury and you need immediate care. Because of that, you may just go to the nearest facility, not thinking about the cost. Be careful of that decision because not all facilities are built alike. There are one or more Free Standing ERs coming to Texarkana. While they may at first appear like an Urgent care such as HealthCARE Express, there are some big differences.

First they have Emergency or ‘ER’ in the name and second, their bills are often thousands of dollars higher than a typical clinic or urgent care visit. They do this by charging a physician fee much like HealthCARE Express does but then they add on a “facility fee” making their total visit much higher. Like up to 10 times higher.

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In addition while they may say they accept your insurance, often they are out of network and so your part of the bill will be much higher. It is not unusual to get a bill from a free standing ER in the thousands.

Right now Blue Cross has warnings on their web site and brochures warning people that “unless it’s a true emergency, you’ll likely get quicker care at other centers such as an urgent care”, like HealthCARE Express “and you will pay much less”.

Aetna has gone farther and has filed suit and won an $8 million judgement against emergency centers in Houston related to excessive charges.

“At HealthCARE Express we have been a part of the community in East Tx for almost 10 years. We feel we have an obligation to educate the community on their choices for healthcare and to warn them of overpaying for that care” says Tim Reynolds MD FACEP, Managing Partner of HealthCARE Express and board certified emergency medicine physician. He warns “just understand if you go to a free standing ER center, you will likely get the same charge as if you go to a hospital ER, most are not told that”.

“If you have a life threatening injury or illness, then by all means go to an ER says Dr. Reynolds” but otherwise most things can be seen by HealthCARE Express much faster and less expensive than the ‘ER’, hospital or free standing.

References

http://www.star-telegram.com/news/business/article3868661.html

http://www.dallasnews.com/investigations/watchdog/20141115-the-watchdog-dont-overpay-for-minor-medical-care-at-emergency-clinics.ece

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/07/11/stand-alone-emergency-rooms-popping-up/2510779/

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-04-01/aetna-opposes-investor-owned-ers-as-1-500-fees-charged

http://www.wfaa.com/story/news/health/2014/08/20/14172536/

http://www.nbcdfw.com/investigations/Freestanding-Emergency-Rooms-Can-Be-Confusing-Costly-301476201.html

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