If you find yourself in need of medical care, but you don't have insurance, you may be wondering what to do. As the popularity of urgent care centers continue to increase, you may wonder if this could be an option in getting the care you need if you don't have medical insurance. Sadly, many Americans find themselves in this situation; however, the good news is you can be seen at an urgent care clinic with or without medical insurance. Although, if you don’t have insurance, you should expect to pay out of pocket for services rendered, typically at the time of service. Despite this, most facilities offer reasonable prices for those paying out of pocket. Don't go another day suffering because you don't have insurance, urgent care is waiting to meet your medical needs at an affordable price!
What Is Urgent Care?
Urgent care is an alternative to the emergency room for those seeking medical attention for routine illnesses, injuries, cuts, burns, broken bones, seasonal illnesses, Covid/Flu testing, and vaccinations. Urgent care centers are typically open late into the evening and throughout weekends, making them a great choice for those who are unable to seek care during regular doctor's office hours. They also offer convenience since they don't require you to make an appointment prior to being seen. These clinics have steadily gained popularity due to the convenience and wide range of services they provide at an affordable price.
If I Don't Have Medical Insurance, Is It Better for Me to Visit The ER Instead of Urgent Care?
Unless you have a true emergency, it is better to visit urgent care than the ER if you don't have insurance. The reality is that urgent care offers medical care at a much lower cost than an ER can. Thus, if you are dealing with a cold, the flu, a minor injury, broken bone, allergic reaction, or animal bite, it simply makes more sense for your wallet to visit an urgent care center. Additionally, this is also beneficial for those who are at the ER for a true emergency, as it prevents the hospital from becoming overwhelmed with patients and helps ensure that those who have critical emergencies receive the care they need more quickly. However, with that said, should you experience symptoms of a heart attack, stroke, shock, trauma, burns, etc., you will need to be seen at your nearest emergency room, in order to receive appropriate care. Ultimately, whenever determining where you should be seen, take a minute to consider if you are in need of emergency or non-emergency care. Then the choice should be simple, allowing you to get the care you need at the most affordable price.
Is There Any Help Available?
While the policies of various clinics will differ, most urgent care centers offer a discount for those who do not have health insurance, so you can receive affordable medical care. Additionally, some clinics offer payment plans, so you can receive care now without the burden of paying in full for medical services. It may also be helpful to call ahead to check on the policy of the center you are planning on visiting. That way you will be aware of the costs before you arrive and will have the opportunity to price around with other urgent care centers in your area to find the most affordable care. Lastly, be sure to make your doctor aware that you don't have medical insurance. This can ensure the doctor works with you to give you the most affordable treatment possible without compromising on your care and prescribes generic medications which will be far more affordable if you lack insurance coverage.
What Services Do Urgent Care Centers Offer?
It is important to note that regardless of whether you have insurance or not, urgent care centers offer a variety of services. From physicals and wellness exams to injuries and illnesses, urgent care centers can help meet most of your medical needs. Many also provide on-site lab work and digital X-rays, so you can receive a quick diagnosis and start treatment if necessary. Thus, if you find yourself in need of non-emergency medical care, your local urgent care can help. Don’t let a lack of insurance stop you from getting the medical attention you require; visit your local urgent care center for prompt, quality care when you need it most!
If I Become Insured Later, Can I Still Receive Treatment at An Urgent Care Center?
Yes, you can still receive treatment at an urgent care center if you become insured later. Most urgent care centers are willing to work with you and your plan to provide quality and affordable medical care. Generally speaking, insurance plans will cover the majority of services offered by your local facility, but in some cases, it may be more cost-effective to pay out-of-pocket for certain services. However, just like traditional medical offices, different clinics may or may not accept certain insurances. Thus, it is important to contact the center you are considering to ask about what insurances they accept. That way you won't receive any surprises later on. It is also important to stay up to date on your policy's copay and deductible amounts, as they can differ from plan to plan. If you have questions about whether your insurance will cover services at an urgent care or what co-pays to expect, contact your insurance company to have all your questions answered prior to seeking medical services.
What Are the Benefits of Visiting an Urgent Care Center?
Visiting an urgent care center offers a number of benefits for those who don’t have medical insurance. Most importantly, it can provide patients with access to quality medical care at an affordable cost. Unlike emergency rooms, urgent care centers typically do not require long wait times and are open extended hours, so you don't spend hours waiting when you are sick or in pain. This allows you to get medical attention when it is most convenient for you without fear of cost. Additionally, most urgent care centers are staffed with board-certified physicians who specialize in family medicine and are qualified to give you the medical care you need without the price tag associated with the ER. Thus, if you don't have medical insurance, visiting an urgent care center is a great option for receiving quality and affordable medical treatment after hours or on the weekends.
Everyone deserves the dignity of medical care. Don't let a lack of health insurance prevent you from receiving medical treatment. With urgent care, quality affordable care is attainable for all. Consider if urgent care could be right for you!
About the Author
Mr. Cerullo is a native New Yorker transplanted to Colorado in 1996. He received a Bachelors in Biology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, N.Y.) and Masters in Health Sciences from George Washington University (Washington D.C..).