Your Guide To Urgent Care

Health & Medical Blog

In many cases, if you have a concern, you schedule an appointment with your doctor. However, you can't always wait for an appointment, and your doctor's office probably isn't open 24/7. Luckily, urgent care centers offer care outside of normal office hours. If you would like to know more, keep reading.

When Do You Need Urgent Care vs. the Emergency Room?

For the most part, you need urgent care for non-life-threatening concerns. If you do have a life-threatening condition or injury, the ER is your best bet. The ER is also the better choice if you're having chest pain and/or breathing complications.

Common reasons people visit urgent care include: 

  • Broken bone
  • Sprain
  • Ear, throat, and nose aches and infections
  • Hives/rashes
  • Food poisoning
  • Minor wounds
  • Pneumonia
  • Flu and cold-like symptoms

What Can You Expect at Urgent Care?

Unfortunately, because urgent care is not dealing with actual life-threatening emergencies, you may have to wait a while before you can be seen by the nurse or doctor. You will need to wear a mask like you do when visiting the doctor or hospital. You'll check in and provide your contact and insurance information. You may also need to fill out health forms.

Depending on your condition, the center, and your preferences, you may see a nurse or doctor. They can use blood tests, X-rays, ECG machines, and much more to diagnose and start treatment for your condition. Depending on the issue, you may need a follow-up with your doctor.

Does Insurance Affect Your Urgent Care?

If you need emergency care and visit an ER, they can't deny you treatment. Even if you don't have insurance coverage for that hospital, they must treat you due to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act. Urgent care centers, however, depend on your insurance carrier. You'll want to check with your insurance carrier to find out what urgent care centers are covered.

Depending on your policy, you may have some coverage for out-of-network providers, which means you could see any urgent care center. Depending on the policy's terms, you may have to pay more out-of-pocket costs for visiting out-of-network providers.

Urgent care centers are incredibly important. They help many patients who need attention but aren't dealing with life-threatening situations. They have the skills, tools, and qualifications to help diagnose, treat, and possibly transfer you, if necessary. If you would like to know more, contact a company like South Shore Health.


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