Are Urgent Care Centers Expensive?
Many people worry that urgent care centers might be more expensive than emergency rooms or traditional medical care. However, this is simply not the case. Here is a brief rundown of the expenses patients will face in all three settings.
Emergency Room Price Sample
Visiting an emergency room is very expensive. The average price that will be charged is $1,318, plus the cost of an ambulance ride if necessary ($400-1,200). Tests, x-rays, and MRIs all cost more than they would outside of emergency rooms, because the care is in higher demand. Wait times in emergency rooms average 2.4 hours. This is partly because emergency rooms cannot turn away any patient.
Urgent Care Price Sample
The average urgent care visit will cost $71-125 (urgent care copays can be even less). The base price of a visit is added to the cost of extra services, such as x-rays, injections, medications, and casting bones. Urgent care wait times for walk-in patients average 15-45 minutes. Urgent care centers will turn away patients who do not have insurance or money at the time of service.
Primary Care Price Sample
Primary care physicians have a set office visit price, which generally ranges from $100-300 depending upon your area and their specialties. Similarly to urgent care centers, the primary care physician will charge uninsured patients extra for each additional service. Prices vary widely by physician, as there is no set guideline for private practices. Because appointments are always scheduled, wait times for patients average 5-20 minutes. In most cases, a private physician will only see insured patients.
While people with insurance do not have to worry, as they have set co-payments in all three settings, the uninsured medical care seeker should be aware of these price schedules. Urgent care centers are not more expensive than other forms of care, and in many cases urgent care is less expensive.