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The issue of emergency room overuse has been gaining national attention in recent years. It was elevated recently when UnitedHealthcare, among others, announced new policies to retroactively deny emergency room claims for vists deemed non-emergent. The move prompted backlash from provider groups that expressed concern that such measures would discourage people from seeking care, ultimately leding to UnitedHealthcare hitting pause on the policy.

Such efforts by health insurance companies are a response to a new trend that’s been emerging in recent years: People are no longer visiting ERs only when there’s a sudden, serious or life-threatening emergency. Increasingly, patients are turning to their local ERs for regular care.

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