Why site of care matters

Choosing the right site of care can pay off for employees and employers.

Where employees seek care has an impact on costs. While visits to virtual providers, primary care providers (PCPs), urgent care and the emergency room (ER) all have a place in the health care landscape, they also each come at a certain price point and can be appropriate for certain conditions.

Take the example of ER visits: They can cost between 15x to 52x more than alternative sites of care, according to UnitedHealthcare data.1 If an employee is experiencing a condition like back pain or a muscle sprain, urgent care may be a better site-of-care option since the employee may save up to $872 and the employer may save up to $1,666.

However, it may be possible to reduce those claims and related expenses significantly, simply by considering health plan and network options and better educating employees on their choices. Helping employees understand when to seek treatment at an emergency room versus an urgent care or a virtual care appointment may make a huge difference in costs.

Why site of care matters

Discover the cost differences between different sites of care and strategies employers can implement to help drive more informed decisions and potentially lower costs for everyone.

“Seemingly small decisions about where to seek care can have an outsize impact on costs,” says Craig Kurtzweil, chief data & analytics officer for UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual. “Educating employees about their site of care options and investing in strategies that help navigate them to the most efficient ones requires a group effort on the part of carriers, providers and employers.”

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