Accidents and illnesses happen regardless of how well you take care of yourself. You may think that you are healthy enough to forgo medical insurance.
But even at the peak of health, illness or injury appears out of the blue. Burns, bug bites, and lacerations can happen when you least expect them and often when your regular doctor is unavailable and you cannot wait for an appointment.
Urgent health clinics can be a convenient solution for sudden illness or injury. Urgent care clinics offer medical care on a walk-in basis. Plus, their “self-pay” rates for medical services are often reduced for patients paying out of pocket.
Urgent care is an excellent healthcare option for people needing quick, convenient, affordable self-pay medical services whether they have health insurance or not.
So how much does urgent care cost without insurance? In this article, we look at what influences the costs of an urgent care visit and the average cost of treatment.
Urgent Care Costs Without Insurance
If you do not have health insurance, urgent care clinics can be cheaper than a private doctor and more affordable than an emergency room visit.
However, your urgent care visit can be pricey without health insurance to cover at least some of the cost. Urgent care costs depend on the severity of your illness or injury and the type of services that you need.
The average urgent care visit costs up to $300 depending on which clinic you go to. For more complex visits, you can expect to pay more. For example, if you need to get an X-ray, your urgent care visit could end up costing up to $450.
While urgent care centers charge a flat fee for your visit to the clinic, all procedures and treatments you receive will be charged over and above the flat fee. Still, the few hundred dollars you pay at the urgent care clinic will be a quarter of the cost if you go to an ER.
Many urgent care centers offer a self-pay option where they can apply a discount if you pay in cash.
What Influences The Cost Of Urgent Care?
How much your urgent care visit will cost depends on several variables. These factors will directly impact the cost of your subsequent urgent care visit.
The following are the most typical elements that affect how much urgent care costs without insurance:
Level Of Service
Urgent care clinics offer different service levels depending on the severity of your injury or illness.
Most walk-in urgent care centers can treat simple fractures, minor cuts that need sutures, urinary tract infections, and infections like flu and strep pharyngitis.
Treatment for a basic visit will include an examination and possibly tests to rule out various infections.
Urgent care centers that offer a more comprehensive service and services for complex issues will cost more. Higher levels of care may involve expensive medical equipment, some of which are linked to hospital systems.
An injury, like a fracture that necessitates X-rays or minor procedures, would fall under more advanced visits.
Overhead costs, like the maintenance of expensive medical equipment, are also factored in. Facilities with advanced medical equipment will be more costly to visit than a small urgent care facility within a pharmacy.
Tests and procedures are usually billed apart from the flat fee, which will increase the cost. Additional charges may include x-rays, lab tests, cost of supplies, and other necessary procedures. If the clinic provides medication, you will be charged for that too.
Knowing the level of care you’ll require is crucial to determine what your urgent care visit will cost you. The clinical experience necessary to treat you will also affect the cost.
The amount of time you spend with the healthcare provider will influence the cost of your visit.
There is a flat fee for each clinic visit, regardless of the service provided. The more time you require for medical treatment, the more you will be charged.
Weekend and late-night visits to an urgent care center may incur an additional after-hours fee.
The location of the urgent care clinic may impact the flat fee cost. The cost of living is higher in some geographical areas than in others. For example, rent in a metropolitan area like Manhattan will be significantly more than rent in a smaller city or a rural town.
For example, the average cost of an urgent care visit in San Francisco CA is $304 whereas the average cost in Cincinnati OH is $150.
Urgent Care Services & Average Costs
Urgent care centers are an excellent alternative for medical situations that require immediate care but don’t require an emergency room visit. They are helpful if your preferred provider is unavailable at the time – whether they are fully booked or after hours.
Urgent care centers typically treat non-threatening illnesses and injuries. Visiting an urgent care center is recommended for flu, common colds, strep throat, or injuries that are not severe, such as sprains, uncomplicated bone fractures, cuts that require a few sutures, and minor burns.
You should also think about the level of attention you might get. Family care doctors who can give the same services as at a general practitioner’s office typically work in urgent care clinics. Remember that they do not maintain medical histories in the same way as your primary care provider.
Although they conduct a comparable intake about your symptoms, allergies, and past illnesses or medical history during your visit, they do not store this information on file for future visits.
Urgent care centers are not open twenty-four hours a day. But many have extended hours and may be open until 9 pm and over weekends.
General Overview Of Costs
It is essential to know what your visit to the urgent care center will cost you before you visit. That way, you can avoid unpleasant surprises when you get the bill.
The flat fee of a basic urgent care visit costs up to $160, with an average of $141.60.
The fee includes a 20 – 30 minute consultation with a medical provider. If you add diagnostic tests to the visit, your bill could increase to as much as $299.
More complex visits that include imaging like ultrasound or x-rays could cost you up to 50% more and see you pay $450 out of pocket.
While cost averages may give you an idea of what an urgent care clinic visit can cost, your final price depends on what happens at the clinic.
Average Cost Of Treatment For Common Ailments At Urgent Care Facilities
- Earache – $110
- Minor Burns – $122
- Dehydration – $80
- Acute bronchitis – $127
- Pink eye & styes – $142
- Strep or sore throat – $75
- Sinus infections & congestion – $142
- Upper respiratory infection – $111
- Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) – $142
- Abscess incision and drainage – $90
Average Cost Of Services At Urgent Care Clinics
- EKG – $109
- X-ray – $133
- Nebulizer – $98
- Chest x-ray – $89
- Sutures (0-5) – $150
- Walking boot – $75
- Wrist splint – $25
Urgent care centers often provide the following lab testing services as well:
- Drug tests and screenings – $90
- Flu and rapid flu tests – $135
- Allergy injection – $40
- Pregnancy tests – $43
- STD tests – $150 – $400
- HIV test – $60
- Urinalysis – $92
- Strep tests – $25
- INR – $25
Most urgent care centers also provide routine care, such as:
- Flu shots – $30
- Tdap vaccine – $82
- MMR vaccine – $112
- Hepatitis B vaccine – $75
- Annual wellness exam – $138
- School or sports physical – $51
Urgent care clinics are not equipped to handle life-threatening illnesses or injuries. Severe medical conditions such as heart attacks need advanced emergency care. If a health provider at an urgent care clinic determines that you need specialized care, they will transfer you to an ER.
Does Urgent Care Accept Insurance?
While most urgent care centers accept all major health insurance plans, not all urgent care centers do. Some insurance providers may not cover specific urgent care centers. If you have health insurance, it’s wise to call the care center and check if they accept it.
Many insurance providers cover urgent care visits, but you must still pay deductibles and copays out of pocket according to your plan. You may also have to pay additional fees for further testing or medication.
Urgent care centers are convenient if you need non-emergency healthcare when your primary provider is not immediately available.
While you may get a discount for self-pay settlement of your account, you should not rely on it. Urgent care may be cheaper than ER treatment but can still add up to more than you can afford.
The best option is to have health insurance. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that all long-term health insurance covers emergency care. But not all insurers regard urgent care as an emergency.
Navigating health plan options and deciding which best suits your needs can be confusing. At Enhance Health, our expert agents help you review your options and understand the fine print.
Signing up for health coverage does not need to be a stressful process. We will help you make an informed decision about your health insurance and guide you through the process from start to finish.