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Is Urgent Care More Expensive Than Primary Care?

When finding medical care, understanding the costs is crucial to deciding where to go. Is urgent care more expensive than primary care? We break down the cost differences between the two.

Urgent Care vs. Primary Cost


Several factors, such as location, insurance coverage, and specific services, affect cost structures at urgent care centers and primary care providers’ offices. Urgent care facilities, like American Family Care, are designed to provide immediate care for non-life-threatening conditions outside regular office hours.  

Visits to your primary care doctor’s office have lower upfront costs, especially if you have health insurance. Primary care providers focus on preventive care, ongoing management of chronic conditions, and routine check-ups. These services are generally covered by insurance, resulting in lower out-of-pocket expenses for patients.

Any doctor visits, whether at urgent care or primary care, may involve additional fees for services such as X-rays, lab tests, or procedures, which can further increase the overall cost.

Determining What You Will Pay


Finding the exact visit cost is challenging, whether at primary care or urgent care office, because of the variations in insurance plans and provider networks. The following steps can help you find an answer to “Is urgent care more expensive than primary care?”

  1. Review your insurance policy: Familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions of your insurance plan. Understand the coverage and any associated copayments, deductibles, or coinsurance that apply to urgent care and primary care visits. 
  2. Contact your insurance provider: Get in touch with your insurance company’s customer service to inquire about specific urgent care and primary care visit costs. They can provide information on copayments, co-insurance, deductibles, and any additional expenses you might incur. Some health insurance cards list copay amounts for different services.
  3. Research providers and clinics: Look for urgent care centers and primary care doctors in your network. Contact them directly to inquire about their fees and additional costs for specific services or procedures. It’s also essential to confirm whether they accept your insurance.

Benefits of Visiting Primary Care


Primary care is excellent for continuity in your care, and it’s important to establish a primary care provider. Primary care doctors have a comprehensive understanding of your medical history, which allows for more personalized treatment.

They can track your health over time, manage chronic conditions, provide preventive care, and offer guidance on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This continuity of care promotes better overall health outcomes and can lead to early detection and intervention for potential health issues.

Primary care providers are equipped to address a wide range of health concerns. They can diagnose and treat various illnesses, manage chronic conditions, and coordinate specialized care if needed.

Benefits of Visiting an Urgent Care


While the continuity of care primary care offers is beneficial, when a sore throat pops up and you want treatment quickly, urgent cares have walk-in appointment availability and extended hours. Sometimes it can take days to get into your primary care office. Urgent care is designed to address non-life-threatening conditions promptly, providing medical attention when primary care may not be readily available or during after-hours. They often have extended hours and shorter wait times, ensuring you receive timely treatment for minor injuries, illnesses, or other urgent healthcare needs.

Urgent care centers are well-equipped to handle various acute conditions and injuries. They provide on-site diagnostic services such as X-rays and lab tests, allowing quick evaluation and treatment. If you have an urgent but non-life-threatening issue, such as a sprained ankle or a minor infection, urgent care can offer specialized care efficiently.

While urgent cares sometimes have higher upfront costs, visits come with an increased overall value and convenience compared to primary care visits. Urgent cares like AFC are a one-stop shop for X-rays and other diagnostic tests, in addition to the convenience of their extended hours and walk-in availability. 

 At AFC, We strive to meet the diverse needs of our patients while providing accessible, cost-effective, and high-quality care through both urgent care and walk-in primary care services.

AFC clinics offer transparent pricing and accept various insurance plans. 

We recognize the importance of ongoing healthcare management and preventive services, which is why we offer walk-in primary care services. Some clinics also offer self-pay options for those without full health coverage.

Seek help today by finding the nearest AFC location near you.

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3700 Cahaba Beach Road Birmingham, AL 35242

Our Mission and Values:

Our mission is to provide the best healthcare possible in a kind and caring environment, in an economical manner, while respecting the rights of all of our patients, at times and locations convenient to the patient.

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