An urgent care center is a lifesaver outside normal working hours or when your regular physician has closed. Usually, medical insurance would cover the cost of treatment in an urgent care center.
Nonetheless, some patients lack a medical insurance plan, forcing them to meet the cost of treatment out-of-pocket. The actual cost of treatment at an urgent care center depends on factors like the severity and nature of the condition, location, and applicable rates.
Generally, the cost of medical care has steadily risen over the years, an inhibiting factor that can make it out of reach for the uninsured or underinsured. That said, understanding the cost of medical care without insurance gives you an informed basis to plan for the next visit.
More importantly, consider seeking treatment from an affordable and accessible urgent care center to optimize your finances.
Here’s what you need to know.
Breaking Down the Costs: What to Expect from Urgent Care Without Insurance
Insurance benefits extend beyond significant health issues like surgery or hospitalization to minor problems like a flu shot. Equally, healthcare facilities like urgent care centers offer special pricing for cash-paying patients.
Here’s a breakdown of a few medical procedures and their costs:
- Allergic Reaction Care: The cost of treating an allergy can increase due to additional factors, e.g., if a physician requests an extra skin or blood test. Without the test, treating an allergy costs $100-150; however, the cost will rise after the additional examination. For instance, a blood test will push the cost of treating an allergy with an approximate fee of $200 to $1,000. Fortunately, a medical insurance plan covers allergic treatment costs, an option that can yield savings.
- A Flu Shot: A flu shot costs approximately $20-$100 for uninsured patients, depending on the location and the type of vaccine. In addition, the three recommended flu vaccines for adults over 65 are slightly more expensive than for young children.
The Risks of Being Uninsured: How Much Can Urgent Care Cost?
If uninsured, you could face mounting medical bills if something unexpected happens. The hefty medical bills could quickly wipe out your savings, force you to borrow, or expose you to debt collection agencies.
A medical insurance plan helps you access treatment and shields your finances.
How Much Can Urgent Care Cost?
Several factors determine the cost of an urgent care visit. Unfortunately, if you’re uninsured, it means you’ll have to bear them out-of-pocket.
Here are a few factors that’ll influence your next medical bill:
- The Severity of the Condition: The nature and seriousness of your condition significantly impact the cost of treatment. A minor problem like strep throat can range between $90-200 due to additional tests like flu or Covid-19 tests. On the other hand, a more severe ailment requiring an X-ray might cost $200-500.
- Location: The cost of treatment for a patient without insurance also depends on the site of the urgent care center. Varying factors, e.g., labor or cost of living, influence the cost of medical care in different locations. For instance, the average urgent care cost in New York is approximately $250, compared to Pittsburgh, which costs an average of $150.
- Individual Rates: Some urgent care centers will charge higher fees for similar procedures. The difference can arise because of their position in the market and unique selling points like experience.
Ultimately, people without health insurance are less likely to receive timely care than those insured. As a result, they’re likely to encounter a high risk of hospitalization or complications because they procrastinate seeking medical care.
Strategies for Managing the Expense of Urgent Care Visits Without Insurance
You’ll likely incur an unexpectedly high cost if you seek treatment without insurance. However, you can apply a few strategies to manage the expenses at an urgent care center.
- Call Before You Visit: Call to understand the treatment options available and the applicable rates. The health facility will freely provide information to help you plan your expenses.
- Inquire About The Cost: Talk to your doctor before an appointment, and inquire about the cost of the procedure or service. If the cost is beyond your budget, negotiate or seek treatment elsewhere. Alternatively, request if it’s possible to pay in installments.
- Ask the Right Questions During the Visit: Use a curious attitude to manage your expenses better. Some questions that can help include; Are there bundle prices for certain services? How much will the test cost? Are there separate costs for office visits and lab tests?
- Watch for Billing Errors: It’s possible to pay for a wrong bill due to administrative errors. Act to save your finances. First, request an itemized bill to know the services, tests, and medication you’re paying for. Also, review the statements for errors; if you notice a variance, ask for a medical chart to understand the bill better.
Preparing of Unexpected: Budgeting for Urgent Care Costs When Uninsured
The additional costs depend on the nature and type of your medical condition. For instance, the unexpected expense for a patient with flu symptoms differs from a patient experiencing a sprain.
Here’s how you can prepare for the unexpected for each of the above conditions:
- Flu Symptoms: Usually, antiviral medication is enough to treat the flu. Even so, if the condition is recurring, your physician may order additional tests like chest X-rays, pushing up the cost of treatment.
- Sprain: A physician can simply examine a sprain injury and recommend a treatment plan. However, some cases are severe, calling for further procedures. Therefore, put aside finances for extra tests, including X-ray, ultrasound, or MRI scans.
Visit Newport Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine for Affordable and Accessible Care
The cost of medical care can be prohibitive for uninsured patients. However, with a few strategies and planning, you can secure timely and quality healthcare for you and your loved ones.
At Newport Urgent Care and Occupational Medicine, we strive to provide affordable care to all patients, including those who pay in cash.
Contact us online or call us at 949.806.4388 to get more information.