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How Much Does an Office Visit cost compared to an ER visit?

An average physician office visit in 2017 cost $267, compared to $1,016 for an Emergency Room visit. Median expenditure per PERSON with an expense was $445 for office visits and $$776 for ER visits. The median expenditures cover total for the year, including multiple visits. Consumers should expect higher costs for 2020; $267 in 2017 is about $288 in 2020 using medical inflation factors. With inflation, $1,016 is about $1,096 in 2020 dollars.  The data from MEPS (Medical Expenditure Panel Survey) informs consumers about the large difference between cost of care in a doctor’s office vs. Emergency Dept, nearly 4-fold. The most recent AHRQ Statistical Brief #318 that analyzes Expenses and Characteristics of Physician Visits in Different Ambulatory Care Settings is quite old – 2008 data, published in March 2011. It is mentioned here only for reference. The link is to the interactive database.

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