Individual and Family
When experiencing the sudden onset of symptoms like a sore throat or experienced a minor trauma, you’ve probably wondered whether or not you should try to get in with your primary care physician, head to urgent care, or go to the emergency room. However, these three health care options can often come with a vastly different price tags.
On average, urgent care costs are pretty low in comparison to a visit to the emergency room. According to Debt.org, an urgent care visit costs around $150.
Urgent care is a great option for those who need same-day treatment for a non-life-threatening injury or illness.
If you find that you need care on a weekend or that you can’t get in with your primary care provider, urgent care may be your best option.
Most urgent care centers are open into the evening and are open on weekends. Additionally, most urgent care centers don’t require you to make an appointment. Although, if you’re looking to skip the line or wait at home some facilities now allow you to make appointments in advance online.
In the event that the staff can’t treat you or believe that your condition is much worse, they will usually prompt you to go to the emergency room.
There are even options such as virtual care, or E-visits, that may allow you to get care for certain common conditions without having to leave the house.
According to chat with a provider to get a treatment plan or a prescription (if needed). You often don’t need an appointment in advance and can get one same-day.
When it comes to costs, a visit to urgent care usually costs much less than a trip to the ER. ER visits can cost anywhere from around $600 for a minor problem to well over $3,000 for a serious and complex health issue or injury.
Even if you have health insurance, you can still expect to pay a large amount out-of-pocket until you reach your deductible.
According to debt.com, the cost of treating a non-life-threatening issue such as strep throat at the ER can cost up to 5x more than seeking treatment from an urgent care facility.
Refer to the graphic below to see how much more treatment for some common health issues costs at the ER in comparison to urgent care.
In addition to being more expensive, it may take longer to be seen by a doctor in an emergency room situation as patients with more severe illnesses or injuries are usually seen first.
While all major medical plans are required to cover emergency services under the Affordable Care Act, some insurers may not consider urgent care as emergency care.
However, most plans cover urgent care visits. Patients can usually expect to pay a copay or deductible for visits to urgent care treatment centers.
In some cases, your insurance may not be accepted by a given urgent care facility. If you aren’t sure if the facility takes your insurance, you can always call ahead.
If you aren’t sure if your health insurance plan covers urgent care visits, look at your plan details as soon as possible or before enrolling in the plan.
Plans that cover urgent care visits can be found here, on eHealth.com. eHealth is the first and largest online health insurance brokerage. On eHealth.com you can get a quote or compare plan benefits online. Start shopping for a plan that meets your coverage needs by entering your zip code where prompted on this page or by calling one of our licensed insurance agents.