Get answers to frequently asked questions about visiting an emergency room (ER)

The following FAQs can be helpful when you are seeking care at an emergency room in the greater Kansas City area.

Why can’t I know the cost of an emergency room visit beforehand?

There is a federal law preventing ER staff from asking about healthcare coverage and payment beforehand because it could delay your treatment. Learn more about ER costs

How much do emergency room visits cost?

The cost of an ER visit will vary depending on the treatment you need, the providers involved in your care and your insurance coverage. You should always check with your insurance plan to determine benefit coverage. Learn more about ER costs

What sort of bills should I expect if I'm admitted to the hospital?

Are emergency room visits covered by insurance?

ER visits are generally covered by healthcare insurance. You should contact your insurance provider to find out your ER copay and any in-network or out of network costs you may incur. List of accepted insurance plans

What is my emergency room copay?

ER copays vary by insurance provider, insurance plan and in network and out of network facilities. Check with your insurance provider for up-to-date coverage amounts.

Are emergency room visits covered by Medicare?

Generally, Medicare Part B covers a medically necessary ER visit in the event that you are experiencing an injury or symptom(s) that a prudent layperson would view to be an emergency condition. An ER visit may subject you to out of pocket expenses, which may include copays for the visit and hospital services, applicable deductibles and a percentage of the Medicare-approved amount for services. Visit or your Medicare Advantage plan for more information. The Medicare Advantage plans in our area are:

  • Aetna/Coventry Advantra
  • Allwell (by Centene)
  • Blue Advantage (by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City)
  • Cigna HealthSpring
  • Humana
  • UnitedHealthcare

Are emergency room visits covered by Medicaid?

Medicaid generally covers the cost of medically necessary emergency services in the event that you are experiencing an injury or symptom(s) that a prudent layperson would view to be an emergency condition. Outpatient and inpatient services may be subject to copays, deductibles and coinsurance as determined by your state agency. Visit the Missouri Department of Social Services or KanCare or your Managed Medicaid Health Plan for more information. Here are Managed Medicaid plans in our area:


  • Aetna Better Health of Kansas
  • Sunflower Health Plan (By Centene)
  • UnitedHealthcare Community Plan (KS)


  • HomeState Health Plan (By Centene)
  • UnitedHealthcare Community Plan (MO)
  • Missouri Care

Why do emergency rooms take so long?

Emergency room wait times can vary based on the volume of patients, the severity of conditions, staffing levels and hospital processes. But, not all ER wait times are long. HCA Midwest Health has 11 Kansas City ER locations with short wait times in the region. Find an ER and see average wait times

What is the emergency room wait time?

ER wait times vary by location and are constantly changing based on patient volume and the severity of cases. Text ER to 32222 for average wait times near you.

Can emergency rooms help with a toothache?

The emergency department can help with any medical problem you feel is an emergency. For toothaches, the emergency physician will be able to address your pain and provide resources for follow up treatment with a dentist.

Which emergency room should I go to?

If your condition may be life-threatening, don’t drive, call 911 so treatment can begin on the way to the hospital. The EMT staff will know which hospital to take you to based on your symptoms and location.

If your condition is not life-threatening, see Kansas City ER locations and wait times here

When should I visit an emergency room?

Use the ER for life-saving, serious medical care. Some of the symptoms requiring a trip to the emergency room are:

  • Head injury or other major trauma
  • Severe pain
  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Trouble breathing
  • Loss of consciousness or sudden dizziness or changes in vision
  • One-sided weakness or numbness
  • Open or complex fractures
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Severe abdominal pain

Do all emergency rooms treat kids?

Hospitals vary in their ability to treat children. If a hospital is not equipped to treat your child’s condition, your child will be transferred to another hospital. All 11 HCA Midwest Health’s Kansas City emergency rooms treat children and exceed the national average for pediatric readiness. Learn more about pediatric readiness

When should I go to an ER versus an urgent care?

Urgent care clinics can treat minor injuries and non-life-threatening medical conditions. For medical emergencies, call 911 or visit your local ER. Learn more about when to go to an ER vs. an urgent care

What are emergency room services?

Emergency rooms can treat all levels of injury and illness. ERs grant you direct access to all the specialists and clinical expertise of the hospital. Read about the differences between emergency and urgent care