No emergency room in US hospitals ?

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I have to take a trip from Europe to USA. Is it true that if you have no medical insurance you cannot be recovered in a hospital ? If you fall on the street with a heart attack that won't bring you to the hospital unless you are insured or pay?

I think people who told me this are exaggerating. Exactly how does it work in the US if you need medical/hospital assistance ? Is it true you must pay very large sums of money if you are unfortunate and get sick there ?

Thanks for letting me know really how it is!
 

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  • #2
Monique
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You should ask your current insurance provider for a travel insurance to the US, or ask another agency like your bank. Maybe you also have to get reliability coverage, they would not let me go there without it (incase someone slips on a piece of paper you just dropped in a grocery store :wink:)

I had a lot of hassle in the US, where offices only take certain insurance types.. but I wouldn't travel without insurance, you pay a little but you can benefit a lot.
 
  • #3
russ_watters
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oldtobor said:
I have to take a trip from Europe to USA. Is it true that if you have no medical insurance you cannot be recovered in a hospital ? If you fall on the street with a heart attack that won't bring you to the hospital unless you are insured or pay?
No, it isn't true. They are required to provide emergency care, at the very least. You're not going to get a free heart transplant though.
Exactly how does it work in the US if you need medical/hospital assistance ? Is it true you must pay very large sums of money if you are unfortunate and get sick there ?
Well, if you fall on the street with a heart attack and need an ambulance, an ambulance isn't cheap - its probably a good thousand dollars for the trip to the hospital. A night's stay in a hospital bed is another couple thousand.

But if you get drunk, fall, and split your head open, its only a couple hundred bucks to sew you back together if someone drives you to the emergency room. Same, if you get the flu.
 
  • #4
Danger
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oldtobor said:
I have to take a trip from Europe to USA. Is it true that if you have no medical insurance you cannot be recovered in a hospital ?
I don't know what sort of resources are available to you. Insurance is definitely a good idea, even if it costs a lot. I belong to the Alberta Motor Association (gold membership for $95/year). It's saved me thousands in towing bills over the years, but they also have a travel agency. When I had to go to Las Vegas to play pool, they provided travel insurance through that. For $12 I was covered for medical care, including up to $1,100/day for hospitalization (this was 5 years ago; it might be more now), travel expenses and accommodation for a family member to fly down and stay with me, ambulance transport if necessary, and even replacement costs of lost luggage for the whole week that I was there. Luckily I never had to file a claim, but it sure took the worry out of the trip.
 
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  • #5
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oldtobor said:
I have to take a trip from Europe to USA. Is it true that if you have no medical insurance you cannot be recovered in a hospital ? If you fall on the street with a heart attack that won't bring you to the hospital unless you are insured or pay?

I think people who told me this are exaggerating. Exactly how does it work in the US if you need medical/hospital assistance ? Is it true you must pay very large sums of money if you are unfortunate and get sick there ?

Thanks for letting me know really how it is!
They were exaggerating.

Hospitals are required to provide certain kinds of emergency care as russ said, but without insurance there could be a hefty bill for it.
 
  • #6
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Anyways, I doubt the Hippocrates oath tells the doctors to only provide medical assistance to those who are medically insured :tongue2:.
 
  • #7
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motai said:
Anyways, I doubt the Hippocrates oath tells the doctors to only provide medical assistance to those who are medically insured :tongue2:.
No but it does tell the HMO doctors that they should not do expensive tests that might save a patients life if its "likely" the test will be negative. :grumpy:
 
  • #8
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Come to the states and feel safe. Any hospital that accepts government or state funding{99% of them do} MUST take you as a emergency. Also they cannot hold you here until you pay.
 
  • #9
Evo
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hypatia said:
Come to the states and feel safe. Any hospital that accepts government or state funding{99% of them do} MUST take you as a emergency. Also they cannot hold you here until you pay.
True, emergency care for life threatening situations is always provided. If you need to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance, you will be, no insurance or payment is required first. I have never seen an individual left on the street because he couldn't pay for an ambulance.

A lot of accident victims aren't even concious or have any identification on them when they are taken to the hospital.
 
  • #10
cronxeh
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if you ever end up in a University Hospital..

..pray they dont let the medical students treat ya :rofl:
 
  • #11
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russ_watters said:
Well, if you fall on the street with a heart attack and need an ambulance, an ambulance isn't cheap - its probably a good thousand dollars for the trip to the hospital. A night's stay in a hospital bed is another couple thousand.
I lost consciousness once in Toronto, they took me to the emergency and next day I went home. After two-three weeks letter comes with a bill for an ambulance ride ; 35 $, for night in hospital 0 $ .
If not for universal health coverage in Canada I would be homeless and begging for money on the streets, because I been to hospital many times since then .
It is highest time for USA to adopt some kind of universal coverage because even poore nations like Brazil care for its people much more then in the States.
 
  • #12
cronxeh
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We have other priorities in the US, apparently, if you havent noticed :biggrin:
 
  • #13
matthyaouw
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So if I were to be walking the streets of the USA with very little money, and have to be rushed to the emergency room for some reason, and were then unable to pay for my treatment, what would happen?
 
  • #14
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matthyaouw said:
So if I were to be walking the streets of the USA with very little money, and have to be rushed to the emergency room for some reason, and were then unable to pay for my treatment, what would happen?
tough luck sucker :wink:
 
  • #15
Moonbear
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As others have stated, hospitals are not allowed to turn away anyone who comes in, whether they can pay or not. However, if you have to go to the hospital for something that isn't a life-threatening emergency, you're going to sit for hours waiting because you are not their priority. They'll send you a bill later, and you better be near another emergency room when you get it, because the shock of reading it might kill you. There are quite a lot of people who owe huge amounts of money to hospitals that the hospitals have pretty much written off as unrecoverable. They charge more for their services than the actual services cost to cover those unrecovered expenses; this is our form of universal health coverage. :tongue2:

Take the advice of others and look into traveler's insurance that includes health insurance for emergency room visits and hospitalization. While it will set you back a bit, you can probably afford treatment for minor illnesses, like seeing a physician for a mild case of food poisoning or other little things, but it's the ER and hospital stays that most people can't afford without insurance. In addition, look for one that will cover your transportation back to your own country, this way, if you end up with some long-term need for hospitalization, if you are stable enough to travel, you can be flown home to continue treatment in your home country.
 
  • #16
Moonbear
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matthyaouw said:
So if I were to be walking the streets of the USA with very little money, and have to be rushed to the emergency room for some reason, and were then unable to pay for my treatment, what would happen?
They'll keep sending you bills. The same for anything insurance doesn't cover (some insurance plans only pay 80%, and you have to pay the other 20% of the bill, which can still be a lot if you need long-term hospitalization). Hospitals are rather used to this scenario, as there are people who are poor and without insurance who get treated and they have nothing to take. For some, the hospitals just write it off as a loss. There's no hope of recovering hospital expenses from someone living on the street. For others, they'll work out payment plans. Basically, they look at it as whatever you can afford to pay, that's better than nothing. Some people can work out paying $100/month, and I've even known of some situations where people pay as little as $1/week because it's all they can afford. When someone mails in a copy of your death certificate with the bill and writes on it "Cannot Pay: Deceased" they usually stop trying to collect.
 
  • #17
Evo
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When I went into the emergency room when I fell on that glass and it went through my knee, my bill for the hour I was there came to almost $3,000. This was for an x-ray and some stitches. There were bills from three doctors, although I only saw one, he even admitted he had to look at the x-ray himself since there was no one else in ER at the time, except a couple of nurses. (I live in a very quiet area). So, I was billed by doctors that I never saw and weren't involved. (I can hear it now "hey, some girl came in a few hours ago while you were gone and had an x-ray, see it? Heh, ooops, I've just consulted with you, haven't I, oh darn, now you'll have to send in your bill for $500 too!) :devil:

Luckily I have insurance so I only got billed for my $40 emergency room co-pay.
 
  • #18
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franznietzsche said:
No but it does tell the HMO doctors that they should not do expensive tests that might save a patients life if its "likely" the test will be negative. :grumpy:
This is my experience also. My aunt went to a walk in clinic a few years ago because she did not have insurance. They tested her for strep and sent her home. She became more ill and by the time she finally saw a doctor it had been over a year. She was dioagnosed with cancer and after chemotherapy her cancer returned and now she is in hospice waiting to die. If she could have afforded the insurance she would have seen a better doctor much sooner and would have had a much better chance at living.

Even after she was diagnosed with cancer she did not receive any finacial assistance for some time. She paid tens of thousands of dollars from her own pocket.
 
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  • #19
Ivan Seeking
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oldtobor said:
I have to take a trip from Europe to USA. Is it true that if you have no medical insurance you cannot be recovered in a hospital ? If you fall on the street with a heart attack that won't bring you to the hospital unless you are insured or pay?
There was a time when this did happen. Back in the late 80's we began to experience our current crisis in health care - including hospitals going broke - and there were seriously injured people who were refused treatment. Since then legistlation was passed to prevent this from happening again.
 
  • #20
Ivan Seeking
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Also, we have a serious shortage of trauma centers. This can delay treatment significantly; which can mean life or death. When I first started in the medical industry in 1980, you could find trauma centers in nearly any respectable city hospital. Now they are relatively scarce due to the operating costs - only the largest hospitals tend to be rated for trauma.
 
  • #21
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Thanks alot for the advice. Bottom line is then:

1) for emergency cases US hospitals and ambulances will take you whatever

2) They may send you a large bill afterwards

Then would I be better off finding some local US insurance for a limited time, say 1,2 months and pay only for that time ?
 
  • #22
Monique
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Why not just get a travel insurance?
 
  • #23
Pengwuino
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oldtobor said:
I have to take a trip from Europe to USA. Is it true that if you have no medical insurance you cannot be recovered in a hospital ? If you fall on the street with a heart attack that won't bring you to the hospital unless you are insured or pay?

I think people who told me this are exaggerating. Exactly how does it work in the US if you need medical/hospital assistance ? Is it true you must pay very large sums of money if you are unfortunate and get sick there ?
No thats not true. If you have a heart attack, they'll fix you up no matter hwo you are, what your income is, whether your a citizen or not, martian, someone from pluto, alive, dead.... ok well.. not sure what they'd do if ur already dead :D.

What happens though is that if you do have a home and a billing address or some sort of identification, they send the bill to your house if you dont have medical insurance. If you have medical insurance, they send the bill to the insurance :) And well, most of the time you pay a relatively small deductable.

To get the facts straight... you pay large sums of money if you dont have medical insurance and you have to have like, surgery on your head or amputation or have to be in the hospital a long time. If you have insurance though (which most people can easily afford but many choose not to), you pay maybe a few hundred bucks or... hell, maybe $20... and the insurance company pays the other huge amount of money.
 
  • #24
Pengwuino
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oldtobor said:
Thanks alot for the advice. Bottom line is then:

1) for emergency cases US hospitals and ambulances will take you whatever

2) They may send you a large bill afterwards

Then would I be better off finding some local US insurance for a limited time, say 1,2 months and pay only for that time ?
Talk to your travel agent. And actually, tell me what the result is because im rather curious about what the situation would be if you travel from another country to the US or you travel from the US to some other country where the governmetn doesnt pay all the medical expenses. Im not sure if Italy has socialized health care and i wanted to go there at some point in my life and if they dont, i really would wanna know what the health care situation would be. Thats something id probably never think of!
 
  • #25
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stoned said:
If not for universal health coverage in Canada I would be homeless and begging for money on the streets, because I been to hospital many times since then .
It is highest time for USA to adopt some kind of universal coverage because even poore nations like Brazil care for its people much more then in the States.
yah but thats a rather unfortunate statement. In canada, you pay much higher taxes so in a sense, your paying for health insurance just like someone in America would pay for insurance. Absolutely only difference is that your forced to pay. In the end, you pay for insurance whether your in canada or the US. And for what, in Brazil, their idea of high-tech medical technology is the introduction of penicilan (exageration but you get the point lol). In the US, if we gave universal health coverage, we'd have to pay for neurosurgery, weekly tests with technology that was only thought of as science fiction as of 2 decades ago, surgeries that can cost a million dollars... etc. Brazil would have to pay for what, x-rays maybe... putting someone in an unsanitary hospital... etc.

The US vs. other socialist nations has shown how successful both sides can be based on which way you actually look at it. If you talk about people falling and breaking their leg or getting a concussion or cutting themselves, socialized medicine is great because its not really life threatening and waiting isnt much of a problem. In the US though, if you dont have health coverage, any injury results in a big problem for you. But in a socialized HC nation, you need emergency surgery or an oepration on your head or some other incredibly dangerous or expensive surgery and your going to have to wait (the last thing ou want to do). In teh US, with health insurance, your gonna get treatment immediately. Hell , my grandfather had just a simple HMO in the US and a doctor recommended surgery at like, 6pm at night and they said the surgery could happen that very night at either UCSF, Stanford... or some other really great place. They opted for it at UCSF but that just made me very high on US health care. Same night gets surgery at an incredible hospital and it didnt cost our family a dime and the cost for the health insurance he had always had was never much at all.

And someone give me a good idea bout how accurate my theory is. In a socialized HC nation, a hospital system is only as good as the government allows it to be and its expansion is only allowed if the government allows it. But in a capitalist HC nation, if theres demand for a hospital, one will be built no matter ( or relatively no matter) what the government thinks. How close or not close am i?
 

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