Study: Percent of ED charges paid is decreasing

With hospital emergency departments already taxed enough, the following isn't reassuring. A new study concludes that the proportion of outpatient ED charges paid by both government and private insurers decreased consistently from 1996 through 2004, undercutting their ability to subsidize care for the uninsured. The study, which appears in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, found that while adjusted mean charges for outpatient ED visits climbed from $713 to $1,390 during the study period, adjusted mean payments climbed from  $410 to $592. All told, the overall share of charges paid decreased from 57 percent in 1996 to 42 percent in 2004. Reimbursement for ED care grew more slowly than charges across all payer groups. Not surprisingly, the same study found that the proportion of total charges paid by the uninsured (35 percent) was lower than from those from privately-insured patients (56 percent). 

To get more data from the study:
- read this Annals of Emergency Medicine study (.pdf)