If you are on a tight budget and wonder how you can possibly pay for health insurance, copays and deductibles, you are not alone. 53 million adults in the United States did not go to the doctor last year because they did not feel they could pay the bill. Another 50 million did not fill a prescription and 49 million missed some type of recommended care due to cost. As many Americas are still suffering from the impacts of the recession, it is becoming necessary to provide individuals with low cost urgent care for their health needs.
The problem of paying for health care is not limited to a few, but has become a pervasive problem in the United States. However, those on a budget can find needed medical care at a reasonable price by using low cost urgent care medical facilities.
What Is Urgent Care?
Urgent care is a walk-in medical facility that offers extended hours for care and usually treats common illnesses and injuries or provides preventative care such as immunizations.
The urgent care concept was born when emergency rooms were flooded with patients who could not see a doctor during regular business hours due to work commitments or on weekends. Urgent care nurses and doctors were able to see patients during evening or weekend hours and offered a viable alternative to high-priced emergency room care. This idea grew in popularity, and today urgent care centers have appeared all over the country. Some people receive most or all of their health care from urgent care centers, visiting a doctor or emergency room only for things that the urgent care center cannot handle.
How Does Urgent Care Save Costs?
Urgent care centers save costs on medical treatment due to their streamlined, practical approach to health care. By avoiding high overhead and referring serious matters to the experts, urgent care centers are able to offer low-cost health care and treatment to walk-in patients and get them on their way quickly.
Urgent care centers are usually much less expensive than emergency room services. Emergency rooms are actually designed to treat critically injured or seriously ill patients who will most likely need to be admitted to a hospital. Going to the emergency room to get stitches in a cut finger, for example, will usually end up costing the patient a tremendous amount of money when compared to visiting an urgent care facility for the same problem. Seeing a doctor after hours at an emergency room is very costly, while seeing a doctor at an urgent care center on a weekend costs the same amount as during the week.
Many urgent care centers have expanded to provide outpatient services such as x-rays as well. These can often be performed at a much lower cost than in the hospital and patients can usually be screened immediately after seeing the doctor rather than having to make an appointment and wait as they may have to do at a hospital.
Urgent care centers can be a very cost-effective alternative for those who lack insurance or have high deductibles and co-pays. Most urgent care centers will file insurance claims but also take direct payments. Patients who are looking for low-cost healthcare often find that an urgent care center is the best place to go for professional treatment at a price that fits almost any budget.