When facing a health issue that threatens your life or your limb, a hospital emergency room is the place to go. However, most common injuries and illnesses can be addressed in the comfort of your neighborhood Urgent Care center. Most Urgent Care locations provide quick, convenient access to high-quality care without the ER cost and hassle.
Multiple studies have shown that as many as half of all ER visits could be better handled in an urgent care setting. For those who have health insurance, using Urgent Care instead of the emergency department could benefit from out-of-pocket cost savings of $50 in co-pay amounts and as much as $400 or more, depending on deductible rates.
No More Doc-in-the-Box
Today's urgent care is much more than a shady walk-in clinic. Most modern urgent care locations offer a high-quality care for high acuity and preventative care from experienced providers. Most offer x-ray, stitches and even in-house labs.
Many urgent care locations are open early and late - allowing you to fit your medical visit into your busy schedule
Buyer Beware the "Free-Standing ER"
Consumers should be aware of the difference between those glossy stand-alone Emergency Room locations. While they look like an urgent care they typically charge the same amount as a hopsital ER. This means you will be charged as if you had visited the emergency room, and your insurance plan's ER copay will apply. When in doubt, ask the front desk if they charge ER or urgent care rates.
If time is a factor, urgent care visits are often much quicker. Even if an ER advertises low "wait times," that often does not include the total time required to conclude treatment and check out from a busy ER setting. Nationally, the average time to complete an ER visit is over four hours! Most visits to MedSpring or other urgent care are less than an hour.