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Average Cost of a Hospital ER Visit, MEPS

What is the average cost of a hospital ER visit?  According to the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), the average cost of an ER visit was $1,016 in 2017, up just 1.2% from 2016. (If you add medical inflation to 2020, the ER cost estimate would be about $1,096.) Many people made more than one trip to the Emergency Room in 2017. Consequently, the total expenditure per person with one or more ER visits during the year, was $1,482 in 2017, about the same as it was in 2016. The median expenditure per person with an expense was $776. The ER visit cost varied by age group. Adults ages 18 to 64 had the highest average visit cost at $1,203, followed by age 65+ at $830. Infants and children under age 18 cost $707 per visit on average. The average ER visit cost for someone uninsured was $887 in 2017. The federal government has not released costs for the 2018 or 2019 Emergency Department visits yet. It has discontinued detailed explanations, in favor of the online interactive tool – which we think is unfortunate. The interactive tool provides basic overall statistics only, and is difficult for many people to use. Note, the costs reported by MEPS are the expenditures (total amounts paid by all parties including insurance) for the ER visits. Actual charges would be substantially higher.

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