An ER visit could save your life, but also wipe out your savings

Published: Mar. 27, 2019 at 5:10 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Getting treated in an emergency room could save your life, but it could also wipe out your savings -- or worse. And that’s even true for people with insurance, depending on the doctors you see.

If you’ve ever been treated in the emergency room you know that kind of care isn’t cheap, which is why a new study finds a single ER visit is the number one financial fear. The NHP Foundation quizzed Americans over age 55 who also earned $60,000 or less per year to share their top money worry.

No. 1 by a landslide was a single ER visit!

Just one trip to the ER could cost you as much as a mortgage payment, with the average visit costing about $2000. But costs can rise fast -- if you need emergency surgery, or have to be admitted! And even if the ER is in your insurance company network, some of the doctors who treat you in the ER may not be, which will drive costs up even higher. A recent study found as many as one in five ER bills carries out of network charges!

So how can you fight those charges? Well, do not pay those bills right away. Instead, go over them carefully and check for errors. Then, call the insurance company, and see if there’s anything they can do. The next step is negotiating with the hospital or provider’s billing department. Tell them you can’t afford that amount, and ask them to lower the price. If you were hit by those out of network charges, you can file a complaint with your state’s insurance department.

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