Eat, drink and be mindful of holiday healthcare costs

It’s that time of year again, when families and friends across America come together to eat, drink and be merry.But, as most emergency medical personnel will tell you, this isn’t only the season of visiting loved ones, it also is the season of visiting the emergency department or urgent care.In fact, our healthcare cost estimate tools saw the following trends over Thanksgiving last year:

  • Thanksgiving Day had 5 times the daily average searches for emergency-related care.
  • Thanksgiving Day had 2.4 times the daily average for urgent care searches, with Thanksgiving week as a whole yielding twice the weekly average of urgent care searches.
  • Alcohol-related searches double during Thanksgiving week.
  • Searches related to gastroenterology rose 48% during Thanksgiving week. Coincidently, this is also National GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) Week.

These statistics may not come as a surprise to you. Primary care physicians are often out of the office, or you’re visiting loved ones where you don’t have an established provider. But consider this: Emergency department visits on average cost between $1,233 to $2,168 depending on whom you ask, urgent care bills fall between $50 and $500 depending on needed services, and a telehealth visit only costs $40-$50.

We know from the stats that many more of you will be searching for care this week, so when faced with the possibility of needed care this holiday, consider your options. While we may not be able to prevent you from getting a little too merry this holiday, we can encourage you to be a smart healthcare shopper and get the best care at the best cost possible.