The role of urgent care is growing, as the demand for budget-friendly health care options continues to rise. A recent study from the Federal Reserve Board found 47 percent of American consumers would not be able to cover an unexpected $400 bill much less a trip to the ER, which is typically three times that amount.  

“...47 percent of American consumers would not be able to cover an unexpected $400 bill much less a trip to the ER, which is typically three times that amount.”

Saving lives, and cash

Urgent care centers are cost- and time-efficient alternatives to emergency departments that deliver quality care for immediate but non-emergency, non-life threatening situations. Medical expenditure reports nearly half of all visits to urgent care centers result in an average charge of less than $150, compared to $1,354 for an ER visit. Plus, many insurance options feature lower patient copays for an urgent care service than treatment in an ER.

Urgent care centers are also flexible for all schedules. Offering after-hours, walk-in and weekend accessibility, almost all urgent care centers are open seven days a week and for at least four hours a day.

Flexible and fast

A recent UCAOA survey found 90 percent of urgent care centers offer a wait time of 30 minutes or less, with 84 percent of visits taking an hour or less — compared to the average four-hour wait time in an ER.

In addition, the broad scope of practice found at urgent care centers enables the treatment of a variety of conditions, allowing many patients to avoid an unnecessary trip to the ER. Ideal for treating issues such as broken bones, the flu and colds, urgent care centers can take X-Rays, conduct lab tests and provide intravenous fluids onsite.