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Can the ER charge you upfront fees? The answer is yes. They can, and — in some cases — they will charge immediate fees starting at $150. The new charges, coupled with ER bills that can literally run up to the tens of thousands, make going to the emergency room less than convenient. Why would hospitals implement these changes, and are there less expensive places for patients to go?

What Are These Upfront Charges For? Are They Legal?

Emergency rooms will be charging these fees for routine care. In other words, they will be asking patients without serious illnesses and injuries to pay for treatment upfront. The fees will start at $150, and they may be more, depending on the level of care required. Moreover, these fees are completely legal. For one, they do not apply to pregnant women, children under age 6, or aging Americans (65 and up). Secondly, ERs will continue to perform legally mandated medical examinations. Following the examination, however, hospitals are entitled to bill routine patients for care or treatment.

Although they are legal, not all healthcare professionals are in favor of charging for immediate care. Some doctors fear that routine symptoms may ultimately get worse, and evolve into life-threatening conditions that should have been treated in the emergency room. Others reason, however, that the motion will save hospitals and patients a great deal of money. “These practices help reduce costs for both the patient and the hospital. We think this is appropriate, given that some people use the ER in a way it was not intended: as a source for routine care,” expert, John Merriweather, explains.

Urgent Care Centers: An Inexpensive Alternative to The ER

There is a better way! Urgent care centers are decidedly cheaper than the ER, and they are open late nights, weekends, and holidays. Some even stay open 24 hours a day. Patients can seek anything from routine care and specialized care to cheap STD testing.

Avoid large medical bills and all of the hassle by choosing convenient urgent care centers. Whether you need cheap STD testing, treatment for cold and flu symptoms, or need help treating a sprained ankle, they will be more than willing to help you — and at a reasonable rate! Good references here: doctorsexpressphoenix.com