Is Urgent Care More Expensive?

With the emergence of urgent care clinics, consumers now have another
option when it comes to receiving medical treatment.

Is Urgent Care More Expensive?

With the emergence of urgent care clinics, consumers now have another option when it comes to receiving medical treatment. Often an illness arises during times when a person’s doctor is not available, such as at night or on weekends, and this is when urgent care clinics can help.

But many people are confused about the services urgent care offers, and even more confused about how much those services cost compared to their primary care physician.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the differences and similarities between primary care and urgent care, then break down
costs of each.

What Is Primary Care?

Primary care is generally your first line of defense against common illnesses. With your primary care physician, you and your family can take preventative measures to ensure you stay as healthy as possible. You can also receive treatment for minor injuries such as muscle sprains, bone breaks, and minor cuts and burns.

Should you require specialty care, your primary care provider (PCP) can make necessary referrals and coordinate care and, in general, can be your guide in managing your overall health and tracking your medical history.
Were we to list the services provided by PCPs, they would include:

Health Promotion
Health Promotion
Disease Prevention
Disease Prevention
Health maintenance
Health maintenance
Counseling, diagnosis
Counseling, diagnosis
Patient education
Patient education
Treatment of acute and chronic illnesses
Treatment of acute and chronic
illnesses
PCPs devote much of their practice to ensuring their patients have an advocate in the healthcare system. As such, they act as an entry point for the patient’s medical and healthcare needs and coordinate care as needed on their patients’ behalf.
Though primary care is usually a person’s first choice for receiving treatment of non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries, PCP offices are typically only open during the weekdays (not including holidays) and limited (if any) hours on the weekend. Also, appointments are necessary to receive care, and you often have to wait weeks to get that appointment.

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What is Urgent Care?

Urgent care clinics offer care when your PCP isn’t able to see you, but when care is necessary (provided you don’t need treatment for life-threatening illnesses or injuries). Urgent care clinics like Urgent Way are open extended hours during the weekdays and weekends, and most are open 365 days of the year, so you can always be seen.

Another benefit of urgent care clinics is that you do not need an appointment to be seen. You can simply walk in and will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis.

When should you receive treatment from an urgent care clinic?

Urgent care centers act as a bridge between primary care and emergency care. Many clinics offer ancillary services like labs and imaging on site. And most provide advanced services like suturing, casting and administration of IV fluids that would otherwise require an ED.

Urgent care clinics can treat the following:

Flu
Flu
Colds
Colds
Ear infections
Ear infections
Fever
Fever
Sore throats
Sore throats
Sinus infections
Sinus infections
Health Promotion
Headaches
Skin Infection
Skin infections
Disease Prevention
Upset stomach

What many people don’t realize is that urgent care clinics like Urgent Way offer preventative measures such as vaccinations and health screenings. We also offer physicals for sports programs and immigration, and drug screenings for employment. Many urgent care clinics also offer gynecological services and pediatric care as well.

As you can see, urgent care offers what primary care does and then some. But it’s important to remember that urgent and
emergency are not the same thing. If your doctor’s office is closed and you are experiencing a life-threatening illness or injury, you must seek attention from your local emergency room.

Let’s look at what constitutes life-threatening symptoms or injuries:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Passing out, fainting
  • Pain in the arm or jaw
  • Unusual or bad headache, especially if it started suddenly
  • Suddenly not able to speak, see, walk, or move
  • Suddenly weak or drooping on one side of the body
  • Dizziness or weakness that does not go away
  • Serious burn
  • Coughing or throwing up blood
  • Severe pain anywhere on the body
  • Severe allergic reaction with trouble breathing, swelling, hives
  • High fever with headache and stiff neck
  • High fever that does not get better with medicine
  • Throwing up or loose stools that does not stop

In these cases, the individual should go directly and immediately to your nearest emergency room.

But, when you have the minor illnesses and injuries we listed previously, it makes no sense to head to an ER. Not only will you take attention away from people who really need it, you’ll also wait a long time to be seen (sometimes hours) and pay twice as much or more than you would had you gone to an urgent care clinic, where wait times are generally 20 minutes or less.

Costs

As just mentioned, treatment at urgent care clinics costs far less than visiting the local ER. But how does it compare with seeing your primary care provider? You may be surprised to learn that urgent care can cost the same, and in some cases, less than a visit to your regular doctor’s office.

How can this be? Well for starters, your doctor will most likely charge an office visit fee of anywhere between $100 – $300 right off the bat. Compare this will a typical urgent care visit that costs between $50 and $100. Patients with high-deductible insurance plans may find going to an urgent care clinic saves them money.

And speaking of insurance, your doctor most likely only treats patients who have insurance, but what about the uninsured? Where can they go to get care? Urgent care clinics treat patients regardless of whether or not they’re insured. Urgent Way works to make sure all of our services are affordable to our community members.

So, is urgent care more expensive? No. But it is more convenient.

Urgent Way is committed to providing quality and affordable care to our neighbors. We understand that immediate access is important and are open 365 days a year.

With locations in Hempstead, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Hicksville, and the Bronx, we are always there when you need us the most.

While we accept most insurance plans, including worker’s compensation, private insurance, Medicaid and Medicare, we also welcome those without insurance and do our best to offer the most affordable rates and payment options.

Urgent Way truly believes that all members of our community deserve quality healthcare at a price they can comfortably afford.

Feel free to stop into any one of our locations, or call and speak with one of our staff.

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urgentway_brooklyn Feel free to stop into any one of our locations

or call and speak with one of our staff.

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