Have you ever rushed to your local emergency department with a medical concern? A couple of hours later and you were released with a prescription for cold medication and a hefty bill. The bill was in the thousands, despite having health insurance coverage. You probably questioned your health insurance coverage, only to find that this is the norm when it comes to emergency medical care. How can you avoid this same situation from occurring again, while still ensuring that you have access to emergency medical care when needed?
Understand every detail of your health insurance plan
Most health insurance plans come with large packets with confusing terms and wording. You probably quickly skimmed over it and then shoved it in the bottom of your desk, never to look at it again. Understanding the information in this manual can be helpful in preventing costly visits to the emergency room. It is important to understand the specifics of your health insurance. You want to know what type of care is covered, what your copays are for regular and emergency medical care, and what your options are in an emergency.
Store your insurance providers number in your cellphone
When you are faced with a medical emergency, the last thing you are probably thinking about is urgent care costs. You are instead, focused on finding the nearest urgent care clinic or emergency department. If you have a child, especially a newborn child, you are likely frantically searching for pediatric locations and might not care about urgent care cost at the time. It can be useful to store your insurance provider?s number in your cell phone. They can quickly locate nearby emergency and urgent care locations that accept your health insurance and you can avoid that hefty bill.
Find urgent care locations ahead of time
Urgent care costs are often much more affordable than emergency departments. Finding an urgent care location ahead of time can save you time during a medical emergency. It can also be useful to consider what types of medical services can be seen at urgent care centers versus the local emergency department. According to a study conducted by the CDC, almost half (48%) of adult ER patients, who were not sick enough to be admitted to the hospital, said they sought out health care at the ER because their physician?s offices were closed. Fortunately, with low urgent care costs, this is another medical care option after hours.
Get to know your local urgent care center
You probably have gotten to know your primary physician. You likely request the same one every time you visit and you might even know the front office staff pretty well. You can develop the same comfort with your local urgent care center of choice. Although you cannot make an appointment at the urgent care center and may not be able to request a specific physician, it can be helpful to develop comfort with the facility. Urgent care centers are highly qualified. In fact, almost two thirds of centers employ a mix of physicians, nurse practitioners, or physician assistants, and about 65% of centers have at least one physician on site at all times.
The urgent care movement began in the 1970s in the United States but has grown exponentially around the globe since then. Urgent care centers are filling a medical care gap. They are available after physician?s family offices have closed, but do not charge the same for medical care as emergency departments do. If you have ever been left with a huge medical care bill after a visit to the emergency department of your local hospital, it can be helpful to get to know your local urgent care centers and consider them as an option.