Each health care site exists for a specific reason – to help keep you healthy, take care of a small but urgent issue or to save your life in an emergency. Understanding the right reasons for using each care site will not only help you get the care you need, but it will also be best for your health care budget.
Sometimes people use emergency rooms or freestanding emergency rooms for non-emergent conditions, like common colds and minor cuts/burns. However, charges billed by the health care facility or provider are based on both the health condition and the location where people seek care. This can lead to significant cost differences among facilities and higher out-of-pocket bills for consumers – a costly lesson that where you go for care matters.
This data from the Colorado All Payer Claims Database shows just how different these costs can be: