Patt Morrison for August 19, 2010

How to pay less at the ER

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Former inmates often end up relying on county clinics and emergency rooms for health care.

No one wants to go, or expects to go, but sometimes your only choice for medical treatment is the Emergency Room. The anxiety and powerlessness many feel about the costs associated with treatment at the ER can be overwhelming. There are some simple and important things to know about what to do if you get socked with an enormous bill for treatment (does aspirin really cost that much?). For starters, don’t go. The most common reason people go to the ER for non life threatening injuries is to treat sprains, superficial injuries, and upper respiratory infections. An urgent care center can take care of all these issues faster and cheaper. But if you do find yourself at the ER, you best listen to Patt. It could hurt if you don’t.


Lesley Alderman, Business Day 'Patient Money' columnist for The New York Times

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