Emergency medical care is essential to the well-oiled machine that we call society; however, this essential service can be very costly depending on where you go. Throughout the last century, our state and government officials have put systems in place to help offset the exuberant prices that follow our healthcare industry. But even with a great insurance provider, patients can find themselves left with hefty and unmanageable bills when they are discharged from a medical facility. For example, the current average cost of a visit to the emergency room in the United States is about $1,233. To help you keep these cost burdens to a minimum, we have a few recommendations and tips:

1. Awareness and knowledge—make sure you are only paying for what you need
Every patient has the right to know what they are being charged for. The hospital owes each patient an itemized list in their bill. In accordance with this, the patient should always check their statement to ensure that a busy nurse or physician did not charge for a service or test that was not actually conducted.
2. Have a medical professional or your own doctor look over the statement
Medical jargon and complicated terminology are often used in hospital statements and can be confusing or misleading to the average patient with no medical expertise. You can consult with your primary care physician to better understand what happened on your hospital’s medical bill.
3. Consult with a healthcare financial counselor
These counselors can advise the best mode of payment and look over your statements and documentation at the time of discharge to ensure that everything is in order; additionally, they may be able to assist you with creating a plan of repayment if the costs are just too high.
4. Have your specific bill audited
All emergency rooms routinely have their billing systems audited to ensure that they are functioning correctly. A patient can ask to have their medical bill audited as well to ensure all charges and services on your statement are accurate.
5. Without insurance: consult with the billing department
By reaching out, patients may be able to request a price adjustment for their hospital bill. Some facilities in the U.S. have specialized and subsidized rates for uninsured or underinsured patients.
Contrary to popular belief, hospitals do not want to send patients to collections. It is a lengthy and costly process for both patients and providers. For this reason, it is always best to consult with the hospital you received services from and work with them to pay off your debt. Most of the time they will be privy to your circumstances. Additionally, hospitals cannot decline patients for lack of payment; but regardless of their current situation, if a patient ends up in the emergency room, they will be expected to pay for their services.