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Urgent care centers offer quick, convenient care

Published On April 20, 2017 | By Anna McDonald | Health

Has a situation like this ever happened to you or your family? It’s a Saturday afternoon and you sprain your ankle while playing softball. Or your daughter is running a fever that just won’t quit. Your first thought might be going to the emergency room (ER). However, if it’s not a true emergency, did you know going to an urgent care center might save you time and money — while getting the quality care you or a loved one needs?

Here’s why. Many insurance companies will charge you a higher copay if you go to the ER, especially if it turns out the visit wasn’t a true emergency. And you might get one bill for going to the ER and another one from the doctor who sees you. However, you’ll often pay a lower copay or coinsurance and have just one bill for getting care at an urgent care center.1

Many ERs have crowded waiting rooms and you may end up spending hours to see a doctor. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average wait time at an ER is about two hours.2 When you go to a center, it’s usually first-come, first-served.

Urgent care centers are convenient and provide quality care

They’re usually open during the day and in the evening and on weekends and you rarely need an appointment before going to one. Doctors and health care professionals are available who can do lab tests, X-rays, stitches and other types of care. Here are some other common conditions centers can handle:

  • Mild asthma
  • Allergies
  • Coughs
  • Fevers and colds
  • Sinus or ear pain
  • Sprains

Still not sure where to go for care?

If your primary care doctor’s office is open, you can call them and ask for advice on where to go for care. If your doctor’s office is closed, a doctor may be on call who can help you. Also, your Health Insurance Company or medical group may have a nurse telephone line to call for guidance.

Be prepared3

You may want to find the closet centers near your home before you’re sick or hurt. Your health insurance company’s website may have an online search tool to look for locations in your area. It’s a good idea to have a few options in case you’re out shopping or running errands.

Write down the addresses and phone numbers for local centers and keep them handy. You could even put the info in your phone’s contact list so it’s always with you and just a few taps away.

When it’s a true emergency, always call 911 or go to the nearest ER or hospital.

 

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