Despite the large number of ER visits that now occur annually, only 11.9% of those cases result in hospital admission. However, even a simple visit to the emergency room can cost up to $1,049, while a visit to your regular physician may only cost $153.
Not only that, but a typical ER treats one in five patients without insurance or any clear form of reimbursement. According to CDC data from 2009, approximately 19% of all patients who were treated at emergency rooms were insured.
Fortunately, there are alternatives to visiting the emergency room for non-life threatening situations that are more affordable, especially for those patients who don’t currently have health insurance.
Emergency rooms typically give treatment based on five levels of care. Level one care covers minor issues such as earaches or congestion. On the other hand, level five treatment is for severe issues like broken bones that need immediate care.
If your issue falls under levels one through three, typically small issues or illnesses that need treatment, then urgent care services
are the best place for you to be. Not only do they offer many of the same services that an emergency room does, they offer them at more affordable prices for patients who need immediate care.
There are approximately 8,700 urgent care centers across the country now that can offer affordable, reliable service to their patients.
In addition, the Hybrid Healthcare model has emerged to allow patients to no longer have to self diagnose their level of care. A hybrid model is both an ER and Urgent Care under one roof. This allows patients to only be charged for the care they need. Legacy ER & Urgent Care in Texas is the largest Hybrid system in the country with 6 locations, but the model is quickly growing in popularity as patients are now consumers and hyper aware of their healthcare expenses. These facilities are built in convenient locations, with attentive staff and quick service - the exact opposite of a traditional hospital ER setting.
An estimated 80% of critical medical errors are the result of miscommunications while handing off or transferring patients, which is a huge issue in emergency rooms. In a small, intimate setting like urgent care, you’re guaranteed to get the care you need without room for error.