What is Urgent Care?
Urgent care clinics are walk-in healthcare centers that offer fast care for injuries or illnesses that are not serious enough to go to an emergency room. They allow patients to be seen with little or no wait, but without the high cost of an ER visit.
Urgent care clinics treat a range of acute and chronic conditions. Common illnesses treated include cuts and broken bones, diarrhea, nausea, back pain, abdominal pain, strep, flu or other infections.
How is Urgent Care Different From Primary Care?
Urgent care centers aren’t intended to replace your primary care physician, but they play an important role when your regular doctor can’t offer a timely appointment. Most clinics allow walk-ins and don’t require you to be an existing patient.
How is Urgent Care Different From the Emergency Room?
Urgent care clinics handle issues that require immediate care, but aren’t necessarily life-threatening. Emergency rooms handle true medical emergencies, including conditions such as heart attacks, seizures or loss of consciousness, overdose, trauma or severe pain. Emergency rooms also require doctors and nurses who are training in emergency medicine.
Emergency room visits are also significantly more expensive than a visit to an urgent care clinic. The average ER visit in 2017 cost $1,389. That compares to roughly $100 to $250 for urgent care clinics.
Texas requires all emergency rooms to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, while urgent care clinics are allowed to set their own hours.
How Much Does an Urgent Care Visit Cost?
The cost of your visit will depend on your exact condition and the test and treatments applied to it. According to 2010 data from the American Academy of Urgent Care Medicine, the average urgent care clinic visit costs between $100 and $150, though this survey data is 10 years old and costs have increased since then. These costs are averages and will vary from clinic to clinic.
How Long Will I Wait Before I See a Doctor?
While wait times depend on each clinic, the Urgent Care Association of America reports that 92% of patients experience wait times of 30 minutes or less.
Some urgent care clinics also allow you to check-in online, which can reduce or eliminate your wait time.
Will My Insurance Pay for My Urgent Care Visit?
It depends on the clinic and we strongly encourage you to call or visit their website to confirm that they accept your insurance.
Where possible, our directory lists the insurance accepted by each clinic, but we depend on information provided by the clinic to report that information.
Also, your co-pay will depend on your health insurance and whether an urgent care clinic is part of your insurance provider’s network.
When checking in at your clinic BE SURE to ask whether they are in-network with your insurance provider.
Do Urgent Care Clinics Take Medicare/Medicaid
While urgent care is covered by Medicare Part B, not all clinics accept Medicare. The same applies to Medicaid. As with all insurance, we encourage you to call the clinic or visit their website to confirm that they take Medicare/Medicaid.