Insured Americans accounted for most of the 16% rise in hospital emergency room visits between 1996-97 and 2000-01, countering common perceptions that the uninsured are the major cause of ER overcrowding. According to a new report by the Center for Studying Health System Change, ER visits increased 24% for the privately insured, 10% for Medicare beneficiaries and 10% for the uninsured between 1996-97 and 2000-01. They were unchanged for Medicaid beneficiaries. Together, the privately insured and Medicare beneficiaries accounted for almost two-thirds of the overall increase in ER visits. Uninsured patients accounted for 11% of the increase, and people with other sources of coverage, such as workers' compensation, accounted for the remainder. Read the center's issue brief. -- by Laura B. Benko
Insured Americans driving boom in ER visits: study
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