What are my care options and what do they cost?
When you need immediate care, you may have more options than you realize — ones that may save you time — and money, particularly if you get your health insurance through work. So, before you spend hours waiting in the ER or maybe end up with an unexpected bill, consider the alternatives that could save you up to $2,4001.
Primary care provider
$170 average cost2 for in-person visits, $99 or less for Virtual primary care visits
Your primary care provider (PCP) or family doctor is a good place to start. They usually know you best, can access your records and may offer in-person or virtual care options.
Good for: cough, fever, pink eye, urinary tract infection, muscle strain or sprain.
24/7 Virtual Visits
Less than $49 average cost3
Get care for patients of all ages 24/7. You can talk – by phone4 or video – with a doctor who can diagnose common medical conditions and even prescribe medications5 if needed.
Good for: cold, flu, pinkeye, sinus problems
Convenience care clinic
$100 average cost2
This choice may be ideal for those on the go. Convenience care clinics let you walk in without an appointment, and can offer treatments for many common symptoms.
Good for: skin rash, flu shot, minor injuries, earache
Urgent care center
$185 average cost2
Urgent care centers are often open evenings and weekends and available for immediate treatment of injuries or illnesses that are not life-threatening.
Good for: muscle sprains or strains, back pain, skin infections, broken bones
$2,600 average cost2
For immediate treatment of life-threatening injuries or illnesses and other critical conditions, ERs are open 24/7.
Good for: chest pain, shortness of breath, major burns, severe injuries
Compare your care options
Our at-a-glace comparison chart shows how choosing care options carefully may help keep costs down.
Don’t be surprised by an emergency room bill
Freestanding emergency rooms, sometimes called urgency centers, are on the rise. Typically unattached or unaffiliated with a hospital, they treat many of the same conditions as an ER, sometimes at a higher price.
What to know about freestanding emergency rooms:
- They may advertise short wait times, big rooms, and the ability to treat common ailments like colds, flu, and pinkeye. But these conditions can usually be treated with a virtual or urgent care visit for considerably less than a freestanding emergency room.
- Many freestanding emergency rooms are not in the network. They may accept your insurance, but may bill at or above an out-of-network ER fee.
- Freestanding emergency rooms may not have an ability to admit patients to a hospital and may provide an ambulance transfer if needed.