Urgent care clinics are extremely valuable tools for patients looking to receive immediate attention for pressing medical conditions without the expense and inconvenience of an emergency room visit. Communities benefit from urgent care clinics because they help take some of the pressure off emergency rooms by providing a no-appointment alternative for medical situations that are urgent but not necessarily emergencies. However, many people worry about the costs of urgent care, especially if they do not have medical insurance.
Even if you are covered by insurance, you may be concerned about the out-of-pocket costs of urgent care visits. Many Americans are rightfully concerned about accruing large amounts of medical debt. This concern only grows when you consider the combined medical needs of an entire family, especially if there are children or a family member with a chronic medical condition that requires frequent care.
Thankfully, there is a range of options available even for people who are not covered by medical insurance. Urgent care clinics are designed with patient needs in mind, so there are usually opportunities to receive affordable medical care regardless of your insured status. This article will compare the costs of visiting urgent care clinics with and without medical insurance and discuss what you should expect when it comes to fees and drawbacks.
General Facts to Know About Urgent Care Costs
The cost of a visit to an urgent care clinic can vary across the United States. In many cases, patient fees are dependent on the reason for your visit and the treatments you receive. Urgent care costs with insurance will naturally tend to be lower than those without insurance.
Regardless, clinics do their best to keep the costs down, so patients can afford to receive necessary treatments without appointments, excessive wait times, or additional debt. For this reason, estimates for the average costs of urgent care vary between $50 and $150 in most locations. Compared to the cost of an emergency room visit that can easily tally into thousands of dollars for even non-emergency and non-admittance treatments (some estimates claim the median amount is in the $1,200 range), it is easy to see why urgent care is a good option for patients who pay out-of-pocket fees for immediate care.
Even if you do have insurance, an urgent care clinic can provide a much more affordable level of care than an emergency room, so it is prudent to opt for urgent care over a hospital unless you are experiencing a life-threatening medical problem.
Urgent Care Costs with Insurance
Almost every treatment, procedure, and service offered by urgent care clinics is covered by health insurance. You may be surprised to see some of these services offered outside a hospital, such X-rays and lab tests. Because insurance companies pay the costs of urgent care treatments, most patients with health insurance are only required to pay their standard co-pay.
When using medical insurance for urgent but non-emergency medical attention, make sure to use what is called the Prudent Layperson Standard, or PLS. Essentially, this means that an insurance company will only cover the costs of an emergency room visit that a reasonable person without medical expertise might believe could permanently harm them or put their life in danger if not promptly treated. Certain insurance companies deny partial or total coverage for emergency room visits for conditions that are not permanently harmful or life-threatening, such as limb sprains and sore throats. On the other hand, because the costs of urgent care are so much lower than those of emergency rooms, insurance company are far more likely to pay the expenses in part or in full.
Urgent Care Costs with No Insurance
Considered on their own, the costs of urgent care treatments are far more affordable than those of the average emergency room visit. This becomes especially true when you consider medical costs that are not covered under health insurance. As mentioned above, emergency room costs can easily reach into five figures. Even for those with insurance, this can be especially worrisome, since the PLS stipulates that only conditions that could reasonably be called or believed to be life-threatening will be covered.
Those without health insurance coverage are burdened with the full costs of medical care. This often leads to an unmanageable increase in medical debt. Medical debt is currently the top reason for personal bankruptcies in the United States, so it is no exaggeration to say that you should practice great caution in how you seek medical care and accrue health-related financial debt.
Fortunately, unless you are experiencing a truly life-threatening emergency, urgent care is a viable option for you. Because urgent care costs without insurance are so much more affordable than emergency room visits, this is a good way to keep your medical debt as low as possible.
Many urgent care websites list the out-of-pocket prices for a variety of common services, such as treatments for urinary tract infections, ear infections, and common winter illnesses, like influenza and bronchitis. This means that you will know exactly what you will need to pay for your treatment, assuming you know your ailment before you go to an appointment. Even if you are unsure exactly what illness you are experiencing, online price lists will give you a basic idea of the fee range for treatments at your local urgent care clinic.
It also may offer a variety of discount or payment plan options, further relieving the financial burden of uninsured patients who need prompt medical care. Many urgent care clinics also offer the option of filling any necessary prescriptions with generic brands rather than name-brand medication, which further reduces costs.
If you require lab testing or blood work, some urgent care clinics can even offer a range of testing facilities, so you can compare pricing. The bottom line is that these facilities are designed to treat everyone, regardless of their insured status. For this reason, they offer many different service pricing options to ensure that you receive the treatment you need without suffering unmanageable financial burdens.
Bonum Health Gives Even More Affordable Urgent Care Options
Sometimes, going to a physical urgent care facility is not a viable or reasonable option. If you are uninsured or underinsured, or if you require frequent medical care for chronic conditions, the associated treatment costs can quickly stack up. Bonum Health offers the affordability of urgent care with even more ease of access. It accepts patients of any insured status, even those without insurance, and only charges a single annual fee. If you frequently find yourself seeking treatment at a physical urgent care facility and are suffering financially as a result, consider signing up for Bonum Health and drastically cutting your medical bills.
With Bonum Health, you can consult a board-certified doctor online, over the phone, or on a video call from any location. These services do not require patients to have health insurance coverage. Bonum Health doctors can also fill prescriptions even if you do not have insurance, giving you easy access to urgent treatment without a physical urgent care visit. Patients can receive all the benefits of fast and expert urgent care services with lower fees and the ability to access remote care.
Consult board-certified doctors face-to-face online for as little as $99 per year
If you seek frequent treatment at urgent care facilities or need a new way to tackle your medical debt, regardless of your health insurance coverage, consider signing up for Bonum Health for fast, affordable medical care options.
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