You need care, and you need it fast. But depending on where you end up choosing your care can give you a heart attack when the bill comes. Emergency rooms and urgent care centers offer a number of the same services. But choosing to seek those services at an urgent care can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars and many hours of time.
What if we told you the average emergency room visit costs 40 percent more than a month’s rent? People spend $4.4 billion on unnecessary ER visits annually when treatment could have been provided at an urgent care clinic.
On average, urgent care visits cost between $100 and $200. ER visits can cost upwards of over $1,000 a visit, with an average visit costing between $1,200 and $1,300.
The cost of care shouldn’t be the only consideration. Time is important, too. The average wait time at an emergency room is four hours. Wait times at urgent care visits are typically 30 minutes, on average. Lower costs and shorter wait times are important, but so is the quality of the care. Studies show the treatment for the most common injuries and illnesses at an urgent care is equal to or better than the care at emergency rooms. Urgent care centers are also known for more personalized care. In many cases, an urgent care becomes a substitute for many patients when it comes to primary care. Have insurance? The average co-pay for insured patients can be as much as four times more expensive than an urgent care co-pay.
Emergency centers are much more expensive than urgent care services because the resources are sparse and intended to only be used for serious, life-threatening issues. For example, if you have a bad cold and your doctor is unavailable, the emergency room may accept you, but they will charge more for the time and resources they had to expend on your behalf. Urgent care, however, is designed for situations just like this one and can provide more efficient, cost-effective care.
When to Seek Emergency Room Care?
You should contact the nearest emergency room for serious issues such as:
- Electrical shock
- Pregnancy complications
- Severe abdominal pain
- Severe allergic reactions
- Severe burns
- Severe/open fractures
- Signs of stroke or heart attack
Urgent care centers can provide services similar to what you will find at a primary care provider, however, it saves you the trouble of working around your regular doctor’s schedule. No appointments or referrals are needed. Walk-ins truly are welcome.
American Family Care centers take urgent care to a new level by offering additional on-site services such as x-rays and labs, improved wait times, speedier visits, and treatment from a highly-trained medical staff.
We are open for extended hours of the day, including the early morning and late evening hours, seven days a week. AFC centers accept most local and national insurance plans and offer very affordable self-pay options. To find an AFC location nearest you, click here.