How Do Facility Fees Contribute To Rising Emergency Department Costs?

The high and growing cost of emergency department visits is of significant importance to consumers and policymakers, with recent policy changes including the No Surprises Act aiming to curb emergency department costs. Emergency department visits usually include a facility fee, or overhead charge, in addition to professional charges by the physicians or advanced practice practitioners providing care. It comes in addition to the costs for specific services the patient receives.

This analysis uses data from the Merative MarketScan Commercial Database, which captures claims from privately insured individuals with large employer health plans, to examine trends in emergency department facility fees . It finds that, on average, from 2004 to 2021, facility fees increased four times faster (531%) than professional fees (132%) for emergency department evaluation and management services.

The analysis is available through the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker, an online information hub that monitors and assesses the performance of the U.S. health system.

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