St. Louis area sees 5 percent dip in uninsured emergency room visits

The emergency and trauma center at the Saint Louis University Hospital | Courtesy of the Saint Louis University Hospital
The emergency and trauma center at the Saint Louis University Hospital | Courtesy of the Saint Louis University Hospital

The St. Louis area saw a 5 percent decrease in emergency room visits by people without health insurance in 2014, according to new data from the St. Louis Regional Health Commission. That represents a decrease of 7,000 visits for the year, following three years of steady increases in the number of uninsured visits.

The decrease can be attributed to factors including a slight dip in the number of people who are uninsured, and declining unemployment, which has led to more people getting insurance through employers.

Higher deductibles may also be causing people to think twice about emergency room visits, St. Louis Regional Health Commission CEO Rob Freund said.

When the Affordable Care Act took effect, many health care economists predicted the new law might reduce the number of uninsured emergency room visits by allowing more people to purchase health insurance and seek out primary care physicians.

Read more from St. Louis Public Radio


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