Here are some interesting facts about who visits the ER from The New York Times. One interesting fact to take note of, people with private insurance visit the ER almost as much as people without insurance.
By RONI CARYN RABIN
Americans, insured and not, make ample use of hospital emergency rooms: One out of every five visited an E.R. at least once in 2007, the latest year for which the National Center for Health Statistics has data.
Among the uninsured, 7.4 percent made two or more visits to an E.R., but so did 5.1 percent of people with private insurance. Medicaid recipients were the heaviest users of E.R.’s, with 15.3 percent of them making two or more visits during the year.
Adults in fair or poor health were most likely to go to an E.R. More than a third of them visited an emergency room at least once during the year.
People younger than 65 who said the E.R. was their only health care facility were no more likely to have gone to an emergency room than others, and for those older than 65, there were more E.R. visits by people with a usual source of care than by those without one.
More than 25 percent of non-Hispanic blacks visited an E.R., compared with 20 percent of whites and about 18 percent of Hispanics. For people younger than 75, age made little difference.
In all age groups, about one in five people went to the E.R. But among those older than 75, one in four visited the E.R. at least once.
The uninsured were no more likely to make non-emergency visits to the E.R. than anyone else — about 10 percent of visits were for non-emergencies, whether the patients had private insurance, Medicaid coverage or no insurance.
Figuring out who visits emergency rooms, how often and for what reasons involves sorting out complex interactions among many factors — socioeconomic level, health status, age, health insurance, access to health care and others.
“Our job is to provide the best numbers to inform policy and practice,” said Amy B. Bernstein of the National Center for Health Statistics. “If people are concerned about the use of emergency rooms and how to make their use more efficient or effective, they should have accurate information about who is actually using them — and not who they think is using them.”