Urgent Care VS Emergency Room Costs

Urgent care centers have started to grow in popularity in recent years. The rise in an urgent care center can be credited to many things, but one of the most important is the cost. To understand why urgent care centers are becoming the go-to option for many individuals, we have to break down what makes them different from an emergency room. 
Emergency Rooms
An emergency room is a fabulous place to seek care. Emergency rooms accept emergent patients in life-threatening conditions, as well as patients with very minor ailments. Emergency rooms operate by seeing the most severe patients first. This leaves the patients with less harsh conditions left in the waiting room for hours before ever receiving treatment. 
Urgent Care Centers
Urgent care is designed to be an alternative option to the emergency room. Urgent care centers are not equipped to handle life-threatening cases, but they can treat many other things. Some of the most commonly seen conditions in critical care include:

  • Cuts requiring stitches
  • UTI’s
  • Ear infections
  • Sinus infections 
  • Sprains
  • Cough
  • Dehydration

Urgent care centers can handle most conditions that require immediate attention that is not life-threatening. They can provide lab testing, specialist referrals, and more. These centers operate on a first-come, first-serve basis, which means that you’ll never be left waiting for too long. Treatment is quick, with an average time from check-in to check out of less than an hour. 
The Cost
So, what is the cost difference? The exact number depends on the case at hand, but in general, urgent care centers operate at a fraction of the cost as an emergency room. In fact, it’s estimated that $18 billion could be saved annually if people with non-emergent injuries and illnesses opted for an urgent instead of an emergency room. Urgent care centers accept the same insurance as an emergency room, typically with a much lower copay too. Overall, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly treatment option, urgent care is the place for you. 
Next time you’re considering a trip to the ER, step back and ask yourself if you could visit urgent care instead. You can look forward to the same high-quality treatment at a much quicker pace and with a much lower bill! After all, why pay more for the same procedure when you don’t have to?