Urgent care centers are an excellent resource for getting quality medical care when your regular doctor's office may be closed. While they are often cheaper than a visit to the doctor's office, different services can dramatically increase the cost. Most urgent care centers accept all major health insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid. Each insurance provider determines if it covers urgent care centers or not.
However, in most cases, insurance providers will cover urgent care, but patients are expected to pay a copay or coinsurance. In some rare cases, an urgent care center may choose not to accept your insurance, even if your insurance provider would pay for care in another way. If the doctor's office is closed or if you're very sick or injured, you still have options. If you have an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital or emergency department.
While you can safely assume that an urgent care center will accept your insurance, it's always best to call ahead and make sure. There is no specific difference between those who work in urgent care and those who work elsewhere. You can find a list of urgent care centers in your network on the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) company website or by calling the 1-800 number on the back of your member ID card. In addition to most major medical plans, urgent care centers often accept Medicare and Medicaid as a form of payment. Urgently needed care is care you receive for a sudden illness, injury, or condition that isn't an emergency but needs immediate care.
Urgent care is more affordable than a trip to the emergency room, and clinics are also immediately available for any health need. Doctors who work in urgent care are as qualified as those you might find in an emergency room or in your regular doctor's office. In addition to your co-pay or coinsurance, you may have to face several additional costs for a visit to an urgent care center. Although advertised as being low-cost, many urgent care centers end up charging additional fees for x-rays, laboratory tests, and other extras, in addition to the initial visit fee. Urgent care is a great healthcare alternative to a primary care provider or hospital if you need fast and affordable medical care. The most common insurance providers accepted at urgent care centers include Advantage, Aetna, Anthem, AARP, CareSource — Just 4 Me, Cigna, Golden Rule and Humana.
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), emergency care is one of the essential health benefits required for all long-term health insurance. If your medical emergency could result in life or death, call 911 or go to an emergency room right away - don't go to an urgent care center.