One in Five Adults Visits ER Yearly
It seems that emergency rooms in America are kept busiest by the regular business of a relatively small percentage of the population.
A report, based on a national survey done by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found that 18 percent of adults said they visited the ER at least once in 2014 -- and about 6.5 percent said they visited the ER two or more times that year.
Women were more likely than men to make an ER visit; about 20 percent of women said they went to the ER, compared with 16 percent of men. Young people were also slightly more likely to end up in the ER. In 2014, 20 percent of people ages 18 to 29 said they visited the ER at least once, compared to 17 percent of people ages 30 to 44, and 17.5 percent of people ages 45 to 64.
Overall, 12 percent said they went because their doctor's office wasn't open, and 7 percent didn't have access to other health care providers.
Since almost 8 million people gained health insurance between 2013 and 2014 as a result of the Affordable Care Act, the researchers looked at whether there were changes in ER visits during this period. The numbers did not change dramatically, but in 2014, about 14 percent of adults with private insurance visited the ER, compared to 35 percent of adults on Medicaid and 16.5 percent of adults without insurance.
The study authors believe that high use of the ER among people on Medicaid may be because this population is generally in poorer health than people with private insurance or those who are uninsured.