Primary Care, Urgent Care, or Emergency Room?

Jun 24, 2019 | Service

Find out where to go for care

Making the right choice about where to go for medical care is important – both for your health and for your wallet. In fact, deciding between primary care, urgent care, and emergency room services can have a huge impact on your out-of-pocket costs. It can also be a determining factor in how long you have to wait for treatment and the type of care you receive.

That’s why it’s critical to plan ahead. Before you or one of your loved ones faces an illness, injury, or other health issue, use our handy dandy guide to consider your various care options. You can even print off this simple, convenient template from WhereforCare.org to create your own family care plan in minutes. So the next time you need care, you have everything it takes to make an informed decision – one that maximizes your health and minimizes your costs.

Primary care

Schedule an appointment with your primary care office for comprehensive family medicine services, including preventative or routine care and minor aches, pains, and illnesses. Primary care costs are roughly ten times lower than emergency room services. Plus, the preventative measures of your primary care provider can help detect health concerns early, avoiding extra costs, tests, or procedures down the road. And since many primary care providers accept a wide range of insurance plans, you can further reduce your out-of-pocket costs by clarifying with your insurance company whether your provider is “in network.”

Urgent care

Visit an urgent care clinic for immediate, non-emergency, and after-hours care needs, including fevers, flu, minor broken bones, and minor cuts. The costs at some urgent care facilities can be comparable to those of a primary care office, and most urgent cares accept insurance. However, your out-of-pocket fee can also vary widely depending on the urgent care location you choose and how that location bills for certain services. To get high-quality, convenient care at a good value, be sure to ask yourself these questions when selecting an urgent care clinic.

Emergency room

Choose an emergency room for life-threatening illnesses, major trauma, or injuries such as chest pain, severe abdominal pain, head trauma, loss of consciousness, uncontrolled bleeding, etc. Emergency rooms are equipped to perform in-depth diagnostic testing, with physicians and nurses specially trained to treat emergency health conditions. While out-of-pocket costs are high at emergency room facilities, they ensure 24x7x365 access to care when health emergencies strike.

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