Urgent Care vs. ER Cost
How much do urgent care visits cost?
Urgent cares provide an affordable alternative to emergency room visits for non life-threatening health issues. While a trip to the emergency room can cost thousands of dollars for a single visit, urgent care facilities offer the exact same care at a cost that's typically one-fourth to one-tenth the price of an emergency room bill.
What determines the cost of urgent care treatment?
In most cases, the cost of any medical visit depends on factors like the nature of the illness, the severity of the ailment, and the type of treatment involved. Services such as sutures, abcess removal or drainage, X-rays, EKGS, breathing treatments, and/or injectable medications or vaccines increase patient visit costs. However, these services are much cheaper at an urgent care than they are at a hospital.
According to one study conducted by the Annals of Internal Medicine, it costs roughly $155 to be treated for three of the most common illnesses in the country—pharyngitis, urinary tract infection, and ear infection.
How much does the average Emergency Room visit cost?
The average cost of a visit to the emergency room is $1,233 in 2014 according to Blue Cross Blue Shield. The cost of every patient varies based on their insurance plan (if they have one) and the services they require. Why do ER visits cost so much? Emergency rooms have more staff and equipment costs than urgent cares. Emergency rooms also have to offset the costs of care provided to patients who do not have insurance or who cannot pay their medical bills. All of this leads to higher medical costs that get passed on to the patient and their insurance company.
When does it make sense to go directly to the Emergency Room?
Some medical ailments or injuries are so severe that an emergency room is the only place capable of treating them. If a patient is experiencing any of the following issues, they should go directly to the Emergency Room: heart attack, stroke, extreme shortness of breath, severe chest pain, loss of limb, head trauma, drug overdose, unconsciousness, poisoning, or other severe trauma.