How Much Does a Walk-In Clinic Cost?
Walk-in clinics are becoming increasingly popular nowadays as compared to traditional physician offices or hospital visits. There are so many things that can happen that do not warrant a trip to the emergency room, but they may not be able to wait until you can get into the doctor’s office either. In these cases, especially at night or on the weekends, a walk-in clinic is the perfect middle ground.
The proliferation of walk-in clinics is largely as a result of an effort by overburdened health systems to divert patients who have minor ailments to facilities which are less costly than the emergency rooms by nearly 80% on average.
How much is it?
- On average, you can be charged as low as $25 to $75 for primary care visits only. For more complex medical problems that involve additional testing, office visit fees can be between $75 and $300. Patients without insurance could see these rates double or even triple. The costs will depend on the reason for the visit, the walk-in clinic and geographical location.
- ClearHealthCosts.com notes that the prices of a walk-in clinic ranged anywhere from as little as $0 to as much as $350.
What is going to be included?
- Walk-in clinics pride themselves on its ability to provide quality medical services at the patient’s convenience and at low cost for the patients paying cash. A walk-in clinic visit will typically cost 80% less than an emergency room and 50% less than a primary care visit. They also attempt to be much faster than sitting in the emergency room waiting area.
- Generally, walk-in clinics are open 7 days a week and no appointment is needed. You will be served in about 15 to 20 minutes. All this makes walk-in clinics a logical choice for the minor medical issues that they are designed to treat.
- Walk-in medical clinics are staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants who offer treatment for the common family illnesses and injuries, conduct physicals and wellness screenings, administer vaccinations, and offer monitoring for chronic conditions.
- They provide you with the primary care you need for virtually all non-life threatening health problems like minor injuries, fractures, colds and flu, strains and sprains, sore/strep throat, lacerations, ear/eye infections, upper respiratory infections, coughs, allergic reactions, urinary tract infections, rashes and skin infections, simple preventive services and immunizations. However, if the sprain is, in fact, a broken bone or a cut that needs stitches, you will need a physician-run urgent care center or an emergency room.
What are the extra costs?
- In addition to the basic primary care visits, walk-in clinics also charge extra for a broad range of diagnostic and preventative services that include lab work, vaccinations, x-rays, and physicals.
- Some centers may charge more after certain hours.
- If the walk-in clinic prescribes any antibiotics or other medication for your condition, you will need to fill this at a local pharmacy. The clinic may be able to give you one or two doses to get you started until you have a chance to get to a pharmacy. Prescriptions can cost anywhere from $0 to $100 depending on the medication.
- In almost every visit to a walk-in clinic, it will be recommended that you follow up with your primary care doctor. This visit will be an extra cost. Also, if the nurses at the clinic decide that your condition or injury is too serious for them to treat, you may have to end up visiting the emergency room as well.
Tips to know:
- Walk-in clinics can save you money and they can offer prompt and efficient services, particularly on weekends or after work. Most people are not aware that they can have same day in-office surgery at walk-in clinics rather than in a hospital. This setting is just as sterile and safe while the quality is oftentimes much better than you get in a typical hospital.
- Normally, these clinics are sited more conveniently to the residential areas than most hospitals.
- Before you settle on a walk-in clinic, check whether they have well-qualified physicians on duty. Most walk-in clinics are staffed full-time by nurses only.
How can I save money?
- A visit to a walk-in will often cost you less if you have insurance cover as you will receive the insurance co-pays. If you are looking to change your policy or look for a new one, consider browsing hundreds for free at eHealthInsurance.com.
- If you do have insurance, make sure that your local walk-in clinic accepts your insurance. It would be wise to ask your insurance company for a list of walk-in clinics in your area that your insurance policy will cover.
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