Who pays more of their ED bill: the uninsured, or Medicaid?

Here’s one study with an answer that’s surprising, and another finding that’s not:

Govt program a strain on U.S. emergency rooms: study

Thu Nov 8, 2007 3:15pm EST

By Lisa Baertlein

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The U.S. government’s Medicaid program for the poor may put more financial burden on overcrowded hospital emergency rooms than the nation’s 47 million uninsured, according to a study published on Thursday.

Researchers at the University of California San Francisco and Stanford University found that the uninsured patients paid 35 percent of their overall emergency room bills in 2004, versus 33 percent for Medicaid.

Wow.  Read the rest for the full story of declining reimbursement from all sources, then ask why ED’s are closing.


  1. I see this everyday.

    FREE=MORE, and that will always be the case.

  2. This is what needs to happen, until a sensible solution is found. Paying more is not the answer.

  3. Paying less isn’t working.

  4. great couple of finds with these articles. when do we walk away?

  5. Walk away from what?

  6. That study is crap. Complete and utter crap. Medicare barely pays 35% of their bills, let alone unfunded or medicaid patients.

    Of course, it depends what your charge master is at.

    Our charge master is at about the 65%ile according to Ingenix data, and I can expect a solid $0.35 per dollar billed on Medicare patients, $0.23 per dollar billed on medicaid patients, and $0.07 per dollar on uninsured patients.

    I’d like to have uninsured patients who paid 35%!

    I’ll have to read the study to better critique it…

  7. etotheipi says:

    Shadowfax is dead wrong or at least needs a new billing company. These numbers are right on for our uninsured population – and I work in a relatively ‘poor’ community. Your collections agency should be fired.

  8. People who can use the “my insurance/Medicare will pay for this” excuse can rationalize that they’re not deadbeats. That’s more difficult when you don’t have anyone to shift the responsibility to.


  1. […] one really need to ask, as GruntDoc suggests, “why EDs are closing”? The below-cost-reimbursement hospitals receive for the […]