How to Navigate Urgent Care Without Insurance

It is no secret that America has a health insurance problem. Outrageously high deductibles and monthly premiums have driven more and more Americans to drop their healthcare coverage all together. As fewer people opt to pay high prices for health insurance, this leads to more people seeking out alternatives to hospital emergency rooms or primary care doctor’s offices. For many, the alternative would be their local urgent care. If you are one of the millions of Americans without health insurance, here are some tips for navigating urgent care without coverage.

Should You Use Urgent Care Without Insurance?

The first question that you may have would be: is it smart to go to an urgent care Philadelphia without insurance? When it comes to minor issues, urgent care is going to be a much better choice than a trip to the ER. A trip to the ER can be three to four times higher in cost than a trip to urgent care would be. Many uninsured people will go to the ER because they know they won’t be refused treatment there. The good news is, urgent care won’t turn away the uninsured either, and their care comes at a far lower price.

How Much Will It Cost?

A typical visit to an urgent care will cost around $100-$200. But there are a few factors that will affect this amount. First being where you receive your care. Some cities are going to have higher rates than others. For example, major metropolitan areas will cost you more than a clinic that is out in the suburbs. Also, the type of care that is required to diagnose your symptoms will factor in. The cost can also be higher if more treatment is required or if the physician recommends medications for your treatment. If you do get prescribed medication, make sure to ask for the generic version to help you save some extra money.

How to Save Money at Urgent Care

So now that you know that urgent care is a good option for the uninsured, you are going to need some tips on how to save money when you get there. Even though urgent care is significantly cheaper than a trip to the ER, that doesn’t mean the trip will be objectively cheap. To avoid feeling overwhelmed by the out-of-pocket cost, you should start by looking up rates online before you go. Urgent cares usually have their prices listed on their website for full transparency. It can be helpful to know what you will have to pay ahead of time for budgeting purposes.

Many urgent cares will offer discounted rates for patients who are paying out-of-pocket. Make sure you ask about these rates ahead of time so you can ensure you are getting the best price. While urgent care centers are not required to offer this discounted rate, there is a chance you can negotiate a lower cost without sacrificing the quality of your care.

Another way that you can navigate paying out-of-pocket costs is by inquiring about payment plans. One of the major financial advantages of using urgent care over the ER is the availability of payment plans. This makes it easier for patients to receive immediate care, even if it comes at a cost that they cannot pay immediately. Talk to the doctor about payment plans as they may be able to provide you with a low- or no-interest rate plan. Also make sure you always check your bill at the end of your visit to avoid any mistakes or overcharges.

Retail Health Clinics

For minor issues such as fevers, rashes, colds, or small cuts, you can seek out an even more cost effective alternative. A retail health clinic is housed within retail establishments. They are not intended for major or serious issues, but they are good for things that can be treated at a leisurely pace.

In Case of Emergency

It is important to keep in mind that life threatening emergencies should be dealt with at a hospital. Even if you are uninsured, your health, safety and well-being are more important than worrying about the cost. But for anything that is non-life threatening, a trip to an urgent care will be your best option if you are uninsured. Just follow these tips and tricks and you should be able to find quality healthcare at a cost (or payment plan) that works for you. Don’t compromise your health just because you are uninsured, and try out an urgent care next time something goes wrong. 

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Denise Maxwell
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