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'Avoidable' ER visits fuel healthcare costs

from U.S. News & World Report

The staggering amount of money the U.S. spends on health care each year — expected to reach about $6 trillion by 2027 — is being driven in part by patients who get treatment in hospital emergency departments with problems a primary care doctor likely could solve, according to a data analysis released Monday by UnitedHealth Group. And while the poor and uninsured may be unable to afford or without access to a primary care doctor, the analysis by the health insurer of its own data and claims found that of 27 million emergency department visits annually by patients with private insurance, two-thirds are "avoidable" and "not an actual emergency." The average cost of such visits for common conditions that could have been remedied through primary care tops $2,000. more

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