Your Doctor’s Office ($)
Your primary care physician (PCP) can be seen for preventative, well-care visits and routine care such as vaccinations, and prenatal care. Because your PCP knows you and your medical history, your PCP is your first call for anything not life-threatening.
Find out ahead of time what type of same-day service they offer and make sure your doctor’s office accepts your insurance. Most co-pays or co-insurance costs for an office visit range from $15 to $50.
Retail-Convenience Clinics ($)
For easy in and out, retail-convenience clinics such as RediClinic are often located in grocery stores or pharmacies. They take walk-ins and provide a convenient place for care when you need treatment for illnesses such as the flu and bronchitis, sinus, ear and urinary tract infections. They can also provide vaccinations and physicals for camp or school.
The cost will be similar to what you pay for a regular doctor’s office visit, depending on your insurance and if you had tests or lab work done.
Urgent Care Centers ($$)
When your doctor can’t see you right away, urgent care centers can accept walk-ins and take many kinds of insurance. They are usually located in stand-alone buildings. Consider urgent care centers when you need treatment for sports injuries sprains and strains, minor cuts and broken bones, illnesses such as the flu and bronchitis, sinus, ear and urinary tract infections.
Depending on your insurance and if you have tests run, your costs could range from $40 to $150. Insurance companies usually have an online feature called “Find a Doctor or a Facility.” Use it to find an urgent care center close to home.
Hospital-Based Emergency Rooms ($$$$)
For life-threatening illnesses or injuries, hospitals are designed to treat traumatic or very serious illnesses or injuries. They should not be used for “routine” care, such as earaches and sore throats; this could leave you with an unnecessarily large bill.
When you need urgent care, hospital-based emergency rooms can treat almost any kind of injury or illness that is not life-threatening such as chest pain, head injuries, heavy bleeding, deep cuts, and shortness of breath, seizures and broken bones.
Know ahead of time which hospitals are closest to your home and/or certified trauma centers. Dell Ascension Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas is the only Adult Level I Trauma Center (anticipated designation) in Central Texas.
The full amount of an ER visit can be $1,200 and up. Depending on your insurance plan, after a deductible has been met, your co-pay may be a tenth of that cost.
Free-standing ERs are also available for non-life threatening emergencies. While convenient, these facilities tend to bill at the same rate as the hospital-based ERs and often do not accept Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare.