Do you need to visit the doctor, but you don't have a primary care physician? Are you trying to decide whether to pick a name at random from your insurance company's authorized providers or to visit the emergency room? Because of various myths or misconceptions, walk in clinics may be overlooked by people who require medical attention. Here are some rumors you may have heard before, as well as the truth behind them:
While they can and do treat emergency situations like bone fractures or minor burns, they also do preventative treatments. You can visit a walk in clinic and get updated on your vaccines or get nutritional counseling. The exact services provided can vary by location or by available staff, so be sure to call ahead if you think your situation is strange or unusual.
If the situation is less serious and you're not sure where to go, a call to your local clinic can help clear up any confusion. For example, if you accidentally cut your finger while making lunch, your local walk in clinic can let you know whether to visit them for a few stitches or to visit the emergency room for more thorough treatment.
Your insurance plan may cover part or even all of the cost of a visit to your local walk in clinic. Your local clinic should have a list of accepted health care providers on their website or you can call and ask if they accept your health plan. You can also call the number provided by your insurance company, in order to find out exactly how much of your clinic visit will be covered.
Once you arrive at the emergency room, even basic care can cost several thousand dollars. If you're making just above minimum wage, a single emergency room visit could take you months to pay off. In contrast, a bill for your walk in clinic visit may cost less than a hundred dollars. As a result, you should be able to easily pay for your visit to the walk in clinic by simply skipping just a few take out meals or fancy coffees.
As a parent, I notice that my kids always seem to get sick or injured on the weekends and evenings, never when the doctor's office is actually open. When that happens, you're left wondering: is the fever serious enough for the emergency room, or can it wait until morning? Does that sprain require immediate treatment, or should I just bring them to the doctor on Monday? Now, however, there's a new option in my area: urgent care. If I don't think we need the emergency room, but also can't wait for the doctor's office to open, urgent care is the in-between option that allows us to get fast treatment at a lower cost than your average ER visit. Take a look through this blog to find out more about emergency and urgent care and how to tell which one you need.