Emergency rooms provide excellent care, but you can wait hours if you have a non-life-threatening problem and still pay through the nose. Understandably, ERs serve patients based on the severity of the problem and charge for access to their wide-ranging facilities.
For conditions that aren't life-threatening, you may be able to save time—and money—by going to your local urgent care facility. Sometimes called a “doc in a box,” these freestanding walk-in centers usually offer extended hours, and their doctors can treat non-life-threatening medical situations, perform basic X-rays and lab work, and dispense prescriptions.
The wait at urgent care centers, on the other hand, can be minimal, and the cost for services often runs one-fourth of what you'll pay at a hospital or one-half for a visit to your doctor.
Below I have some cost comparisons for a visit to an Urgent Care Center vs ER:
The average urgent care center charges $97 for allergy-related problems, whereas ERs standardly charge $345.
2. Bronchitis (Acute)
Urgent care average pricing is $127, while ER charges average $595.
This common childhood ailment will run $110 at an urgent care center and $400 at an ER.
4. Sore Throat
Visit an urgent care center for a sore throat, and your average bill will be $94; at an ER, the average tab comes to $525.
5. Pink Eye
Irritating, but not life threatening, Pink Eye runs $102 at urgent care and $370 at an ER.
This inflammation of the sinuses can result in an infection, so it should be treated if the problem persists. Urgent care will charge $112 and ERs $617.
7. Strep Throat
"Streptococcal pharyngitis" usually appears suddenly with severe sore throat pain. It can be particularly frightening for children, is highly contagious, and requires immediate treatment, but an urgent care center will charge just $111 for a visit and an ER $531.
8. Upper Respiratory Infections
It's particularly important that those with asthma or emphysema deal with upper respiratory infections before they turn into pneumonia. Urgent care will charge $111, with the average ER bill coming to $486. If you're experiencing severe difficulties breathing, however, check with an urgent care center to ascertain if you should go directly to an ER for treatment.
9. Urinary Tract Infections
Experts recommend you see a doctor as soon as you experience urinary tract infection symptoms. Treatment at urgent care will run $110, as opposed to $665 for a visit to the ER.
Above, treatment cost are average cost seen at Urgent Care Centers. At Utica Shelby Urgent Care, we have lower cost for uninsured patients and $15 Flu Shots and $20 School Physicals.
Please visit us at UticaShelbyUrgentCare.com
Kunjesh Shah, MD
Utica Shelby Urgent Care