Cost of ER visits increased 31% between 2012-16: 5 findings

Between 2012 and 2016, the average price for an outpatient emergency room visit rose 31 percent to $1,917, according a recent Health Care Cost Institute report.

The 2016 Health Care Cost and Utilization report analyzed HCCI's commercial claims database, which represents Americans under age 65 with employer-sponsored insurance plans.

HCCI examined healthcare spending based on overall system costs, out-of-pocket spending and types of service. The report used spending data from 2012-16, which revealed several trends in ER use that varied by population.

Here are five findings on ER use from the report.

1. ER visits were the most frequently used type of outpatient service. ER use remained relatively stable during the five-year study period, with annual growth peaking at 1.5 percent in 2016.

2. ER visit use increased two percent during the study period, which is an increase of four visits per 1,000 patients.

3. The increase in the price of an ER visit, when combined with the slight increase in ER use, drove 40 percent of the increase in total outpatient spending between 2012 and 2016.

4. Patients up to age 18 had fewer ER visits. Boys up to age 18 had 7.8 percent fewer ER visits in 2012 than 2016, while girls of the same age group had 4.1 percent fewer trips to the ER.

5. The report found adults over age 45 visited the ER more often in 2016 compared to 2012.

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The average price for an outpatient emergency room visit rose to $1,917 — a 31 percent increase — between 2012-16, according a recent Health Care Cost Institute report.

Between 2012 and 2016, the average price for an outpatient emergency room visit rose 31 percent to $1,917, according a recent Health Care Cost Institute report.

The 2016 Health Care Cost and Utilization report analyzed HCCI's commercial claims database, which represents Americans under age 65 with employer-sponsored insurance plans.

HCCI examined healthcare spending based on overall system costs, out-of-pocket spending and types of service. The report used spending data from 2012-16, which revealed several trends in ER use that varied by population.

Here are five findings on ER use from the report.

1. ER visits were the most frequently used type of outpatient service. ER use remained relatively stable during the five-year study period, with annual growth peaking at 1.5 percent in 2016.

2. The report found adults over age 45 visited the ER more often in 2016 compared to 2012.

3. Patients up to age 18 had fewer ER visits. Boys up to age 18 had 7.8 percent fewer ER visits in 2012 than 2016, while girls of the same age group had 4.1 percent fewer trips to the ER.

4. ER visit use increased two percent during the study period, which is an increase of four visits per 1,000 patients.

5. The increase in the price of an ER visit, when combined with the slight increase in ER use, drove 40 percent of the increase in total outpatient spending between 2012 and 2016.

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