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Patients on Medicaid use emergency care for major issues

Posted On Wed, July 25, 2012

A recent study from the Center for Studying Health Systems explained that those using Medicaid are using emergency rooms for perceived dangerous health situations, not for routine care.

The study showed that while many may think that emergency rooms are filled with poor patients looking for regular treatment, this is not the case, according to Reuters. Specifically, 10 percent of those on Medicaid used emergency facilities for routine care, while patients with private insurance did this 7 percent of the time.

"If you picked a Medicaid recipient and a privately insured patient out of an emergency department waiting room and asked them both why they were there, the likelihood that they described symptoms we would call non-urgent is pretty similar," said Emily Carrier, a researcher for the center, according to the news source.

In addition, there still was a prevalence of going to the emergency room for what was thought to be a major condition, but turned out to be a minor illness. This can occur with children, as they may not be able to tell what is wrong with them and can seem like they are in a worse state.

"This stuff is hard, as any one who has had a kid and tried to figure out if they are really sick knows," Carrier said, the news source reported.

The survey added that approximately 50 percent of emergency visits for children were for injuries, infections and breathing trouble.

If a person is on Medicaid because they feel they cannot afford a private insurance plan, it may not be a bad idea to look for other options. Comparing health insurance quotes online may be the way to get a plan that works and is still affordable.

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