Emergency or Urgent?
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: Myth: Walk in clinics are only for emergencies. Truth: Walk in clinics actually provide a variety of services. 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. Myth: It’s hard to decide whether to visit an urgent care clinic or the emergency room. Truth: If you are facing a life threatening situation, you should obviously dial 911 to obtain help as soon as possible. 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. Myth: Walk in clinics aren’t covered by health insurance. Truth: It depends on your insurance company. Emergency room treatment can be expensive, so many insurance companies would like to avoid these high bills. 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. Myth: If you have no insurance, it’s better to visit an emergency room. Truth: Just an ambulance ride to the emergency room can cost anywhere from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars. 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...read more