If you’ve been wondering “what’s the best way to find an affordable urgent care near me without breaking the bank?” you’re not alone. Trying to navigate which urgent care centers to go to can be overwhelming, especially when you’re not feeling well. However, choosing the right urgent care can mean the difference between owing hundreds of dollars versus an affordable appointment.
Thankfully, there are several ways to ensure you avoid overpaying at your next urgent care visit. Understanding costs upfront before your visit and knowing your insurance deductible are two ways to ensure you won’t experience sticker shock. Additionally, seeking out urgent care centers with transparent pricing on their websites is very beneficial.
Although most people assume all urgent cares are created equal, this is simply not the case. We’re shedding light on the best ways to save money while still receiving excellent care at your next urgent care appointment. Let’s dive in!
The Rising Cost of Medical Appointments
Before we dive into tips on saving money at your next urgent care appointment, let’s review the reality of healthcare costs in the United States. Specifically, understanding the difference between visiting an emergency room versus an urgent care. These statistics prove why most people are now avoiding visits to the emergency room when possible, and instead are asking ‘where is there an urgent care near me?’
Doctors’ Visits by the Numbers
- Today, it’s estimated that the average cost of an emergency room visit is approximately $1,000.
- In contrast, an Annals of Internal Medicine study found that the average cost of an urgent care visit for three common illnesses (ear infections, sore throats (pharyngitis) and UTIs) was just $155, nationwide.
- Medical expenses are among the top three reasons people in the U.S. declare bankruptcy.
- According to Debt.org, ‘more than $18 billion could be saved annually if those patients whose medical problems are considered “avoidable” or “non-urgent” were to take advantage of primary or preventive health care and not rely on ERs for their medical needs.’
Today, there are more than 10,000 urgent care centers across the country. Although they may offer similar services, oftentimes their costs are surprisingly different from one another. It’s more important than ever to do your research before visiting an urgent care to ensure you won’t get stuck paying a huge bill afterwards.
Explore three tips for avoiding a financial mistake and choosing the right urgent center.
How Can I Find an Affordable Urgent Care Near Me?
With urgent care centers now out-populating emergency rooms, patients are asking themselves, how can I get the best deal at an urgent care near me? There are many factors that help set one urgent care apart from another, such as the quality of care you receive, the convenience of the location and the cost. Discover three ways to save yourself money at your next urgent care visit.
#1. Understand Urgent Care Costs Upfront
The best way to avoid sticker shock at your next urgent care visit, is by clearly understanding all costs associated with the appointment upfront. Ideally, the urgent cares you visit will clearly outline what their costs are on their website, or at their office location, however this is not always the case. Big Chain urgent care are those with more than 20 locations. They are owned by hospitals, private equity investors or insurance companies. Big Chain urgent care have three times the negotiated fee for medical services they provide because the trade-off discounts are on the hospital side of medical services.
Big Chain urgent care have opaque pricing for common medical services. And unfortunately, at least two of the Big Chain urgent care centers frequently send their patients to the hospitals that sponsor them for lab tests rather than doing them within their offices. Big Chain urgent care also act as feeders into the system for specialist care. This means they are less likely to stitch you up and more likely to refer you to a hand surgeon for that simple stitch, increasing your cost for medical care. This can add up to huge unexpected costs for you as a patient. This is a frequent complaint we hear from our patients: “I went to an urgent care near me to receive quick and convenient medical attention, but they referred me to two other locations which was time consuming and expensive.”
At Statcare, we administer as many of our medical tests right at our urgent care locations, keeping our costs as low as possible for our patients. We send you to labs that your insurance contracts with, not a hospital-based lab. We simply also do not think a visit for a sore throat should cost you $375, which is what your bill would be if you went to one of the three Big Chain urgent care in NYC.
If you’re unsure of all the associated costs with an urgent care appointment, begin by doing a Google search for ‘urgent care near me’ and then call the location directly and ask them what their rates are for specific services. Also, be sure to ask them whether they’re currently offering any discounts or specials. By doing your research ahead of time, you’ll avoid any unnecessary surprised when you receive the bill for your appointment.
#2. Know Your Insurance Deductible & Copay Information
While most people may think, ‘I’ll just head to the nearest urgent care near me,’ when they’re not feeling well, it’s important to take a few factors into consideration first. Before you walk into the next urgent care center you see, confirm what your insurance deductible costs are, as well as your copay costs. It’s key to understand what you’re responsible for paying out of pocket for an urgent care visit.
Your copay is usually listed right on your health insurance card. An emergency room copay is usually between $100-$500 whereas urgent are copays are closer to the $40-$75, depending on your specific provider.
Your deductible information can be found on the annual (or sometimes monthly) information your medical insurer typically mails you. If you do not receive a summary of your insurance coverage and expenses, calling your provider directly is the best way to find this out. Depending on your specific plan, your deductible can range from $500-$5,000+ annually.
#3. Look for Transparent Pricing
This tip may be the most important of them all- finding transparent pricing information before you visit an urgent care location. Did you know that three of the largest, ‘big chain’ urgent care centers in New York City have a negotiated rate of $300+ with many medical insurers and upwards of $200 with almost all other insurers? Unfortunately, most people don’t realize this, and assume if they visit an urgent care near me, their costs will be kept low, like they are at Statcare.
At Statcare, we offer patients super transparent pricing on our website for our services. We pride ourselves for offering high-quality, convenient, coordinated care at a low cost. We’ve been an affordable one stop shop for all your family’s health care needs for ten years. Additionally, we offer a variety of after care services, online doctor visits and multiple ways to communicate with our staff including online access to your chart for your convenience.
If you ever have questions about the cost of our services, all you have to do is call one of our locations and say, ‘I’m looking for an affordable urgent care near me,’ and we’ll let you know exactly what your next appointment will cost.
Choose a High Quality, Affordable Urgent Care Near You
At Statcare, over the years we’ve heard many stories from people saying, ‘I went to the nearest urgent care near me and now I am left with crushing debt from hidden medical expenses.’ We assure you, when you visit one of our locations, this will never be the case. We’re a leader, not just in price transparency but also in providing comprehensive healthcare that’s affordable and accessible to everyone.
Ultimately, a higher priced urgent care appointment does not always mean a better quality of healthcare. Statcare is Accredited by the Urgent Care Association, not merely certified by them. This is the highest award for any urgent care in the United States; so when you come to a Statcare location, you can rest assured, you are getting the highest quality of medical care.
At Statcare, we promise we will always be transparent with pricing and payment policies. We list our prices on our webiste. You can also always call us, and we will be glad to answer any questions you have. We love being told, year after year, by our patients that we’re among the best ‘urgent care locations near me’ when they come to see us.
Consider booking an online doctor’s appointment today to save even more. We look forward to serving you.