Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 49

Thread: Emergency medical services free of charge?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Prague
    Native language
    Hungarian
    Posts
    4,709

    Emergency medical services free of charge?

    From the 1st Jan. people need to pay 3€ if they visit an emergency medical service in the Czech republic. It was completely free of charge before. How about your country? Do you need to pay if you go to the Emergency with a stomach ache or broken leg? If I am not mistaken that service is also completely free of charge in the USA. But how about other countries? It would be also interesting to read how much you need to pay. Thanks a lot.
    [ɒkinɛk humorɒ vɒn, mindɛnˤtud, ɒkinɛk niŋʧ, mindɛnrɛ ke.pɛʃ]

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Native language
    Spain Spanish
    Posts
    2,506

    Re: Emergency medical services free of charge?

    Medical emergencies are free of charge in Spain, but there are (few) voices claiming that a fee is needed to avoid the overuse from many people who visit that service without a real emergency reason.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Native language
    English - US
    Posts
    31,444

    Re: Emergency medical services free of charge?

    Interesting question.
    In the US, every patient who comes to the ER with a complaint MUST be seen by a physician.
    Questions of fees come later.
    If you have no insurance, you will probably receive a bill, but most likely it will not be paid, and few hospitals will go after you.
    If you have insurance, sometimes you are obliged to pay a "co-pay" for the visit, and sometimes that can be quite high.

    In the 80's and 90's, it was found that in a managed care environment, the addition of a co-pay for services such as office and ER visits would decrease utilization of that resource.

    Most ER visits are truly NOT emergencies, and thus it seems a reasonable measure.
    Una mucca dice all'altra "Hai letto della "mucca pazza"? L'altra dice "Sì, ho sentito. Meno male che io sono un pinguino!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Madrid
    Native language
    England´s english
    Age
    41
    Posts
    948

    Re: Emergency medical services free of charge?

    In the UK emergency treatment in hospitals is provided free of charge in the first instance. However if the injuries are sustained in a road traffic accident a fee is applied (I think it is around 20 pounds). Of course the individual would only end up paying this if their level of insurance was minimal, most of the time the insurance company would pay.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Brescia (Italy)
    Native language
    Italian
    Age
    43
    Posts
    70,081

    Re: Emergency medical services free of charge?

    Quote Originally Posted by TimLA View Post
    Interesting question.
    In the US, every patient who comes to the ER with a complaint MUST be seen by a physician.
    Questions of fees come later.
    If you have no insurance, you will probably receive a bill, but most likely it will not be paid, and few hospitals will go after you.
    If you have insurance, sometimes you are obliged to pay a "co-pay" for the visit, and sometimes that can be quite high.

    In the 80's and 90's, it was found that in a managed care environment, the addition of a co-pay for services such as office and ER visits would decrease utilization of that resource.

    Most ER visits are truly NOT emergencies, and thus it seems a reasonable measure.
    Does it make any difference whether the patient is an American citizen or a foreigner (a tourist) ?

    Brevity is the soul of wit - Le persone intelligenti hanno il dono della concisione

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Glorious Devonshire
    Native language
    English - England
    Age
    37
    Posts
    1,191

    Re: Emergency medical services free of charge?

    Quote Originally Posted by clipper View Post
    In the UK emergency treatment in hospitals is provided free of charge in the first instance. However if the injuries are sustained in a road traffic accident a fee is applied (I think it is around 20 pounds). Of course the individual would only end up paying this if their level of insurance was minimal, most of the time the insurance company would pay.
    Are you sure about this, Clipper? I've only done a cursory web search, but it seems that the individual could only be charged by a doctor if the treatment wasn't received in a hospital (for example, if the doctor happened to be passing when the accident happened). The National Health Service might claim money from the individual's insurance company, yes, but isn't the whole principle of the NHS that all treatment is free at the point of use?

    (I'm going to have to start looking both ways before I cross the road if I'm likely to be charged for hospital treatment!)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Madrid
    Native language
    England´s english
    Age
    41
    Posts
    948

    Re: Emergency medical services free of charge?

    Quote Originally Posted by Broccolicious View Post
    Are you sure about this, Clipper? I've only done a cursory web search, but it seems that the individual could only be charged by a doctor if the treatment wasn't received in a hospital (for example, if the doctor happened to be passing when the accident happened). The National Health Service might claim money from the individual's insurance company, yes, but isn't the whole principle of the NHS that all treatment is free at the point of use?

    (I'm going to have to start looking both ways before I cross the road if I'm likely to be charged for hospital treatment!)
    On investigation it appears that you are correct Broccolicios, as of 1999 this system was revised, doing away with the charge of 21 - 30 pounds which was previously payable directly by the injured party and replacing it with a mechanism whereby the health authority was empowered to recover a higher amount direct from insurers.

    Sorry for the outdated information in my first post. It came from my personal experience as in the past I have received a bill for emergency treatment after an accident, obviously this was prior to 1999.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Native language
    English - US
    Posts
    31,444

    Re: Emergency medical services free of charge?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paulfromitaly View Post
    Does it make any difference whether the patient is an American citizen or a foreigner (a tourist) ?
    Nope, any "person" who comes to an ER window must be seen by a doc.
    HERE's the wiki.

    Now this only applies to hospitals that receive funding from the federal government - Medicare.

    I'm not sure there is any hospital in the US that doesn't.

    They would lose all their Medicare payments if they have been found to violate this law...it would be a huge hit to the bottom line.

    NB: I've seen dogs, cats and even a parrot treated in an ER, but they don't count according to federal guidelines!
    Last edited by TimLA; 29th August 2008 at 2:41 PM.
    Una mucca dice all'altra "Hai letto della "mucca pazza"? L'altra dice "Sì, ho sentito. Meno male che io sono un pinguino!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    St Petersburg, Russia
    Native language
    Russian, Russia (St Petersburg)
    Age
    29
    Posts
    2,971

    Re: Emergency medical services free of charge?

    In Russia, emergency medical services are free for people with policies of obligatory medical insurance (every citizen of Russia receives one for free). But paid ambulances also exist, and you can often hear recommendations to call paid ambulance if you have money to pay for it - because with paid ambulance you won't hear that your case isn't worth troubling the doctors, you won't have to wait for hours, you won't hear rude words from the doctors, etc, etc.

    It doesn't mean that free of charge ambulance works that badly. It just depends on the brigade.
    Anna

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Native language
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    Age
    48
    Posts
    10,790

    Re: Emergency medical services free of charge?

    In Austria medical insurance is obligatory, and even if you are out of work or on predicament pay (or even if you don't receive predicament pay) you nevertheless will be insured - as long as you are registered.

    For those insured medical treatment is free, be it an emergency or not, with minor fees attached (e. g. you will have to pay a recipe tax per drug you get prescribed which would be about € 3 or 4 per recipe; you also will have to pay a rather symbolic amount each day you stay in hospital for food - I don't know exatly how much, I think in the region of € 5 per day).

    Foreigners without medical insurance will be treated free of charge, with the same small fees Austrians have to pay, if there is an agreement with their home country medical care system (this is the case for EU members and some other countries).
    If this is not the case I am not sure what would happen: you certainly will get treatment without any questions about payment asked in a case of emergency. But I don't know what will be done if later it becomes clear that the patient is not insured and unable to pay for the treatment.
    "An esoteric may claim more nonsense in 5 minutes than a scientist may be able to disprove in his entire life." Vince Ebert, about fighting sciolism.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    New York City and Pennsylvania
    Native language
    USA - English
    Age
    45
    Posts
    9,525

    Re: Emergency medical services free of charge?

    When you go into an Emergency Room (ER) in the US, you will be asked whether you have health insurance (if your condition allows questions like that before treatment ).
    • If you don't and it's a private hospital, an emergency will still be treated, but non-emergencies (or stabilized emergencies) can be sent off to a public hospital so that the private one doesn't get stuck with your bill.
    • If you don't and it's a public hospital, you'll be treated but you'll either have to pay the whole bill, which can be astronomical, or a portion of it on a sliding scale, or become a Medicaid patient (Medicaid is a government program for some low-income people).
    When I went to the ER some years ago with possible appendicitis and no insurance, I was considered a Medicaid patient even though I didn't actually have Medicaid. It's just that in that neighborhood, hardly anybody has either insurance or money, so when the staff heard I had no insurance, they just shrugged and wrote Medicaid... (38% of the patients at this particular hospital are "indigent with no insurance", 50% have Medicaid or Medicare, and only 12% have other insurance. source That's partially the result of private hospitals ditching their indigent and Medicaid patients onto this hospital.)

    Judging from the neighborhood and what I saw during my time in the ER, the vast majority of the patients weren't from the US. I doubt they were all documented immigrants either. It didn't seem to make any difference.

    There's an article about "medical immigrants" at that same hospital here. I can't imagine that they're a large percentage of patients, but it has raised some ethical issues.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    an old Ontario farmhouse
    Native language
    Canadian English
    Age
    52
    Posts
    6,230

    Re: Emergency medical services free of charge?

    In Canada a proportion of our provincial income tax (as opposed to our federal income tax) is dedicated to health care. We all have provincial health cards with our names and a reference number, which we show whenever we seek medical treatment.

    Most medical treatment (not cosmetic surgery, for example) is free upon presentation of that health card, in whichever province we happen to be. Without that health card, we still get treated ... and subsequently billed.
    "The trouble with normal is it always gets worse." Bruce Cockburn

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Santiago de Compostela
    Native language
    Spanish. Spain
    Posts
    9,423

    Re: Emergency medical services free of charge?

    In Spain emergency services are free. It doesn´t matter if you are Spanish, British, Mexican or whatever. If you have insurance or not. If you are staying in our country legally or not.

    It doesn´t matter for how long you will have to stay at the hospital afterwards. No one will ask you to pay the bill.

    Of course the health care service is not free at all; it is paid beforehand because, after all, we pay for it with when we pay our income tax.
    In order to form an immaculate member of a flock of sheep one must, above all, be a sheep. I am a platypus.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Native language
    Italy, Italiano
    Posts
    12,747

    Re: Emergency medical services free of charge?

    Quote Originally Posted by TimLA View Post
    Nope, any "person" who comes to an ER window must be seen by a doc.
    HERE's the wiki.

    Now this only applies to hospitals that receive funding from the federal government - Medicare.

    I'm not sure there is any hospital in the US that doesn't.

    They would lose all their Medicare payments if they have been found to violate this law...it would be a huge hit to the bottom line.

    NB: I've seen dogs, cats and even a parrot treated in an ER, but they don't count according to federal guidelines!
    I am a bit surprised about that...When I was in USA as a tourist, in New York state to be precise, it happened to me to suffer of a kidney colic, something that you all know happens suddenly and it is very painful and impossible to be treated at home.
    I didn't have an insurance, but I had a credit card.
    As soon as I reached the ER at the hospital (not in New York but in a Westchester small town) showing them my green face and asking for help, the first thing I was asked for was "how much do you want us to take off your credit card?"
    Of course I was in very bad conditions, not able to quantify how much to give them being overwhelmed by such a terrible pain, and being at same time astonished to be asked for that BEFORE they calmed my pain.

    Reading this discussion, if I am not wrong, I understand that they should have treated me before asking for money.
    Am I worng?

    Thank you.
    "Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind."

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Prague
    Native language
    Hungarian
    Posts
    4,709

    Re: Emergency medical services free of charge?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorena1970 View Post
    ...the first thing I was asked for was "how much do you want us to take off your credit card?
    You should have said you hadn't had any credit card. I think they must have treated you free.
    [ɒkinɛk humorɒ vɒn, mindɛnˤtud, ɒkinɛk niŋʧ, mindɛnrɛ ke.pɛʃ]

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Native language
    English - US
    Posts
    31,444

    Re: Emergency medical services free of charge?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorena1970 View Post
    I am a bit surprised about that...When I was in USA as a tourist, in New York state to be precise, it happened to me to suffer of a kidney colic, something that you all know happens suddenly and it is very painful and impossible to be treated at home.
    I didn't have an insurance, but I had a credit card.
    As soon as I reached the ER at the hospital (not in New York but in a Westchester small town) showing them my green face and asking for help, the first thing I was asked for was "how much do you want us to take off your credit card?"
    Of course I was in very bad conditions, not able to quantify how much to give them being overwhelmed by such a terrible pain, and being at same time astonished to be asked for that BEFORE they calmed my pain.

    Reading this discussion, if I am not wrong, I understand that they should have treated me before asking for money.
    Am I worng?

    Thank you.
    They can do that, but you don't have to give them anything.
    If they don't provide you treatment, they're breaking the law.
    The best way to handle that would be to say:
    "I have no insurance, I have no money, I'm in terrible pain, please help me."
    They don't help you, they are are toast!

    This law doesn't generally apply to private offices or walk-in clinics (urgent care).
    Una mucca dice all'altra "Hai letto della "mucca pazza"? L'altra dice "Sì, ho sentito. Meno male che io sono un pinguino!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Native language
    Italy, Italiano
    Posts
    12,747

    Re: Emergency medical services free of charge?

    Thank you Tim.

    I wonder WHY they try anyway to ask for money in advance.

    I mean, if rules are that they should help people anyway in advance as soon as they join the ER in TRULY bad conditions (and no doubts my conditions were: it was evident to the doctor as soon as I get in!), why they ask for money anyway?

    This sounds a bit odd to me as a custom.

    This means that they cannot avoid to treat you but at same time they can try to make you pay in advance whatever amount of money? If I feel bad and not completely conscious (as I was due to the gravity of my desease), I can give them whatever amount, maybe more than the proper fee for treatments..........
    This make me think, and I am probably wrong, that the final bill can be completely different if I say I am out of money and do not even show them a credit card nor give them a proper address to which send the bill...
    So, all the thing can turn to be free or cost a lot depending on the way we "play" our role of hill people...?

    I just remember I paid a lot....

    Thank you.
    "Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind."

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Native language
    English - US
    Posts
    31,444

    Re: Emergency medical services free of charge?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorena1970 View Post
    Thank you Tim.
    I wonder WHY they try anyway to ask for money in advance.
    I mean, if rules are that they should help people anyway in advance as soon as they join the ER in TRULY bad conditions (and no doubts my conditions were: it was evident to the doctor as soon as I get in!), why they ask for money anyway?
    This sounds a bit odd to me as a custom.
    This means that they cannot avoid to treat you but at same time they can try to make you pay in advance whatever amount of money? If I feel bad and not completely conscious (as I was due to the gravity of my desease), I can give them whatever amount, maybe more than the proper fee for treatments..........
    This make me think, and I am probably wrong, that the final bill can be completely different if I say I am out of money and do not even show them a credit card nor give them a proper address to which send the bill...
    So, all the thing can turn to be free or cost a lot depending on the way we "play" our role of hill people...?
    I just remember I paid a lot....
    Thank you.
    They do that because there are some people who will pay.
    There are a variety of other "tricks" hospitals use to increase income.
    One, they "bill" three-times the cost, and occasionally, someone who is ultra-rich will pay it.
    The other is they will continue sending "bills" to patients after discharge,
    knowing that the patients aren't responsible for that part of the bill.
    But sometimes, a patient will pay anyway.

    And you are right, you have to learn how to "play the game" just like any process.
    Una mucca dice all'altra "Hai letto della "mucca pazza"? L'altra dice "Sì, ho sentito. Meno male che io sono un pinguino!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Native language
    Italy, Italiano
    Posts
    12,747

    Re: Emergency medical services free of charge?

    As far as I am concerned, this is very different from Italy.
    Here costs are fixed, in case you have to pay (for instance if you should buy drugs they prescribe after treating your emergency), but generally who goes to the ER doesn't pay nothing and is not even asked to pay (nor to "play"...)

    So, for instance, if you gave them your credit card number and later avoid paying a bill, they can take off money from it anyway to cover the whole amount?

    Thank you.
    "Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind."

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Native language
    English - US
    Posts
    31,444

    Re: Emergency medical services free of charge?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorena1970 View Post
    As far as I am concerned, this is very different from Italy.
    Here costs are fixed, in case you have to pay (for instance if you should buy drugs they prescribe after treating your emergency), but generally who goes to the ER doesn't pay nothing and is not even asked to pay (nor to "play"...)

    So, for instance, if you gave them your credit card number and later avoid paying a bill, they can take off money from it anyway to cover the whole amount?
    They might be able to, but you could stop it by filing a dispute with your credit card company.
    Thank you.
    I took my wife to an ER in Florence one night and was charged.
    Wasn't much, but it was clear the doc was upset that we had awakened him.
    Una mucca dice all'altra "Hai letto della "mucca pazza"? L'altra dice "Sì, ho sentito. Meno male che io sono un pinguino!

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •