Have you been wondering “what’s the best way to find affordable urgent care near me without breaking the bank?” You’re not alone.
Trying to find affordable urgent care can be overwhelming, especially when you’re not feeling well. However, choosing the right clinic can mean the difference between owing thousands of dollars versus paying an affordable co-pay.
Thankfully, there are several ways to ensure you avoid overpaying at your next urgent care visit. Here are three ways you can find affordable urgent care and avoid sticker shock:
- Understand costs upfront before your visit
- Know your insurance deductible
- Seek out urgent care centers with transparent pricing on their websites
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 and receive 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. We’ll help you understand the difference between visiting an emergency room versus using urgent care. The statistics below show why most people avoid visits to the emergency room when possible, and instead find affordable urgent care.
Doctors’ visits by the numbers
- According to the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, the average ER visit cost estimate is $1,210 in 2022, adjusted for medical inflation from the $1,150 ER cost in 2020.
- In contrast, the typical cost of an urgent care visit for three common illnesses (ear infections, sore throats (pharyngitis) and UTIs) is somewhere between $100 and $150.
- In the United States, medical expenses are the second most common reason for filing bankruptcy.
- More than $18 billion could be saved annually if 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. Even though they offer similar services, their costs can vary widely. Therefore, it’s critical to do your research before visiting the doctor to ensure you won’t get stuck with a huge bill afterward.
How can I find affordable urgent care near me?
So, how do you find the right urgent care? It is important to look at not only the cost, but the quality of care you receive, the convenience of the location, and Google reviews. Here are three tips to avoid making a financial mistake when choosing the right urgent care center.
Avoid big chain urgent care
Big chain urgent care centers are those with more than 20 locations. They are owned by hospitals, private equity investors, or insurance companies. Although big chain urgent care may appear to be cheap on the surface, that is not always the case.
Big chain urgent care usually has 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 in-office.
Big chain urgent care centers also act as feeders 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, which increases the cost of your medical care. Consequently, this could lead to unexpected medical costs. A frequent complaint from a patient is “I went to urgent care near me to receive quick medical attention, but they referred me to two other locations.” This ends up being time-consuming and expensive.
At Nao Medical, we administer as many of our medical tests right at our urgent care locations. Doing our own tests keeps costs low for our patients. We send you to labs that your insurance contracts with, not a hospital-based lab. We simply do not think a visit for a sore throat should cost $375, which is what your bill could be if you visit one of the three big chain urgent care in NYC instead.
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 care you visit will clearly outline what their costs are on their website, or at their office location. However, this is not always the case.
How to find out urgent care costs upfront
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 surprises when you receive the bill for your appointment.
Know your insurance deductible and copay information
While most people may think, ‘I’ll just head to the nearest urgent care near me’ when they’re not feeling well, this is a mistake. Thankfully, it is easy to find affordable urgent care if you know these secrets:
- Before you walk into the next urgent care center you see, confirm what your insurance deductible costs are, as well as your copay costs. That way, you will understand what you’re responsible for paying out of pocket for an urgent care visit. This will help you get affordable urgent care.
- Your copay is usually listed right on your health insurance card. An emergency room copay is usually between $100-$500 whereas urgent care copays are closer to $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.
Look for transparent pricing
This tip may be the most important of them all — find transparent pricing information before you visit an urgent care location.
At Nao Medical, we offer patients 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 you and all your family’s health care needs. Additionally, we offer a variety of aftercare services, online doctor visits, concierge service, 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 contact us or call one of our locations and say, ‘I’m looking for 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 Nao Medical, we pride ourselves on being transparent and affordable when it comes to urgent care. To help our patients get affordable urgent care, our prices are clearly listed and always up-to-date on our website. We take pride in hearing from patients who say they found us as one of their top ‘urgent care locations near me’!
We are a leader in price transparency. We strive to provide comprehensive, affordable healthcare to everyone. Nao Medical has earned the Urgent Care Association of America accreditation and The Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval. Both of these accreditations are reserved for organizations that strive to exceed nationally recognized standards of patient care and illness or injury treatment.
Remember, a higher-priced urgent care appointment does not always mean a better quality of healthcare. So avoid being left with crushing medical debt by booking an appointment or visiting a Nao Medical near you.