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Are Urgent Care Centers Expensive?

Urgent care is defined as treatment administered for a condition that necessitates prompt attention, but does not pose an immediate or serious health threat. Bottom line many situations are not emergencies, but do require immediate medical attention.  These situations are what is meant by the term urgent care.

Now the cost of an urgent care visit is a bit more expensive when compared to a visit to your primary care physician's office, but significantly cheaper than a visit to the hospital Emergency Room. In fact, a trip to an Urgent Care Center will save you both time and money without sacrificing the quality of medical care you receive.

What Makes Urgent Care Expensive compared to your PCP.

Going to the Emergency Room can cost a lot in both time and money. In fact, it's known that up to 84 percent of people who do go to the ER don't have actual medical emergencies, and may end up paying up to six times more than is necessary.  That's because ERs are open 24 hours a day and fully prepared to treat life-threatening emergencies.

It's important to remember that most health plans will not pay for ER visits for what they consider to be non-emergency care.  If you visit the ER for non-emergency care, you will end up with high out-of-pocket costs. 

Incidentally, everyone should check their insurance policy and find out whether or not they have an ER visit co-pay.  Many plans cover some portion of emergency care no matter where you are, even out of their network area, but some don't so you need to know about your specific plan.  However, if you wait days or weeks for an appointment with your primary care physician, you risk your condition getting worse and requiring more complex -- and more expensive -- treatment.  In these instances, your Urgent Care Center provides an option that can save you time and money.

These centers have extended hours and are basically intended to provide treatment for less serious conditions when your primary care physician is not available.

Normally your insurance will have an urgent care co-pay and it is normally due in full at the time of your visit, unless you make other arrangements.  Since it is your insurance policy it is considered your responsibility to know about any deductibles you may have, including a Co-pay for urgent care.

While Urgent Care Centers are there for patients convenience and to prevent serious health problems or injuries from becoming emergencies, the cost of treatment can add up.  If you have an excellent insurance policy and your total expenses are covered, then it doesn't matter where you go for treatment.  But you need to be aware of exactly what your coverage is and prepared to pay any costs that aren't covered by your insurance policy. 

Also, keep in mind that Urgent Care Centers do expect prompt and hassle free payment once treatment has been administered.  Their aim is to provide health care service as quickly and conveniently as possible so any delays are to be avoided.