Healthcare Cost

How Much Should I Save for Health Emergencies?

Alexandra Thompson
Alexandra Thompson23 Aug 2022
Reviewed and Fact Checked ✔️

Health emergencies happen to the best of us and can be some of the most unpredictable and life-changing circumstances. Health emergencies also cause financial worry as they often lead to unexpected and crippling costs. Experts suggest your health savings should equal your out-of-pocket maximum. Nevertheless, the sooner you start saving, the better prepared you’ll be in emergency situations. 

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What is Health Emergency   

In general, health emergencies can be any sudden abnormal changes in your current health as well as the development of a new condition or symptom that leads to seeking out medical care. For rapidly developing and time-sensitive health conditions, your nearest emergency room or urgent care facility is usually the first and best point of care. 

Some of the most common health emergencies are:  

  • Bleeding (deep cuts and severe bruising)
  • Seizures
  • Heart Attacks
  • Strokes
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Allergic Reactions
  • Stomach Pain

Cost of Care 

When it comes to cost, not all health emergencies are created equal. Depending on your diagnosis, severity, specialized care, and time spent in the emergency room. Your overall charge is determined by a few key measurement factors: 

Acuities (severity) Level   

The scale ranges from 1 to 5, with 1 being the most severe classification and requiring immediate medical attention. Patients who are classified as a level 3 or higher will have much higher wait times than level 1 or 2. Level 3 is the most common classification, which leads to you getting charged a lot more than someone who is a level 4 or 5. 

Total Charge = triage fees + facility fees + professional fees + supplies  

When you arrive at the ER for an emergency, you will be charged a triage fee that can range from $200-$1,000. Next, you are assigned a room and will be charged a facility fee that typically averages at $1,120. The facility fee covers your time in the room and nurses’ time. Attending physician, other medical specialists, medications, and supplies used during your visit are not included in the facility fee and are billed separately. 

Eligibility for Care Program  

Some hospital facilities have charity care programs that are income-based and can reduce the cost of your ER visit. You can learn more about these programs following your visit by contacting the hospital’s patient advocacy department. 

The price of your care will be dependent on the types of treatments and medications you receive. The cost of your emergency visit also depends on if you have health insurance. For patients without insurance prices can range from $1,000-$2,500. However, If your health emergencies require more extensive treatment, such as surgery or specialized cardiology care for a heart attack, the cost could reach over $25,000. 

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Alexandra Thompson

Originally from Houston, Texas, Alexandra is currently getting her Master's in Public Health with a health policy certificate at Columbia University. One of her life goals is to own her own art gallery!

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