Emergency room payments declined over an 8-year period, with Medicaid paying less overall than do uninsured patients, a recent study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine reported.
In a news release, researcher Dr. Renee Hsia of the University of California at San Francisco said the “falling reimbursements” were a “consistent trend” over the study period.
“What surprised us was that uninsured patients actually pay a higher proportion of their emergency department charges than Medicaid does,” she said.
According to the release, 35 percent of charges for uninsured visits were paid in 2004, compared to 33 percent for Medicaid visits.
Researchers studied charges and payments for 43,128 emergency department visits from 1996-2004. Nationally, the overall proportion of charges paid for outpatient emergency room visits declined from 57 percent to 42 percent.
“Declining reimbursement ratios will cut into the ability of emergency departments to recover their actual costs of providing care,” Hsia said.
Jeff Raymond, Medical Writer