More individual health plans are charging a facility fee for the ER if you do not need surgery or are not admitted to the hospital.  That fee is independent from the deductible and coinsurance.  You still also have to pay the health insurance premiums in the same month that you go to the ER. For fun, let’s have a pretend trip to the hospital.  You have a high deductible health plan and that deductible is $5000, your monthly premium is $400, your emergency room fee is $500.  You went to the emergency room because you fell off the roof and hurt your ankle. It costs three times more to go to the emergency room than a clinic.  Your bill is $750 for taking an x-ray of your ankle, wrapping it with tape and giving you some aspirin. You would pay the $750, the $500 facility fee and the $400.00 premium.  Monthly medical payments?  $1,650.  Most insurance carriers offer copays for urgent care centers with an average co pay of $75.  Waiting to see a doctor in the ER takes about 2 hours for a non-emergency.  Not only do unnecessary visits waste your money but they also waste your time.

The best time to plan for an emergency is not during the emergency!  HealthDay has a great article on how to be better prepared for emergencies.

Keep a list of emergency numbers by the telephone. If you have a cell phone program these numbers into your telephone book:

  • •Police
  • •Fire department
  • •Poison control center
  • •Local hospital
  • •Ambulance service
  • •Family doctor

Make a list of medications you and your family take.  Get to know the names of your medicines and why you take each one of them.  Note the dosages and how often you are supposed to take them each day. Write all this information down and keep the list in your purse or wallet and a copy in the medicine cabinet.

Have the basic first aid supplies ready. At Least twice a year, check your supplies to be certain they are up-to-date and complete. A basic first aid kit should include:

  • •Aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen (But remember, never give aspirin to children or teens with a cold or fever.)
  • •Antibiotic ointment
  • •An over-the counter antihistamine such as Benadryl
  • •Bandages
  • •Cold Packs
  • •Hydrogen peroxide
  • •Latex gloves
  • •Rehydrating fluids
  • •Safety pins
  • •Scissors
  • •Soap
  • •Thermometer
  • •Tweezers
  • •Anything you or your family may require for conditions such as diabetes, a heart condition or a severe allergy.

Learn CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). The American Red Cross and American Heart Association, along with local fire departments and some hospitals, offer short courses in CPR techniques.  Taking the time to learn CPR can mean the difference between life and death.  The Red Cross also offers first aid classes in English and Spanish and gives safety classes for children and babysitters.