Thursday, February 19, 2009

Urgent Care...

how I love thee.

So I don't know how I missed out on the beauty of urgent care for so much of my life. Maybe it has to do with growing up on an HMO and never really having to do more than call a number and ask where to go. Whatever the reason I have found and we have used urgent care 3 times in the past year.

For those of you who aren't familiar, urgent care is like an after hours, walk in doctor office. Price ranges based on your insurance, but in our cases it's been just $5-15 more than a regular appointment. That may not seem like a bargain, but when you consider that it's significantly cheaper than the ER it's worth it. Urgent care is also helpful when you can't or don't want to take off work for a relatively simple appointment. I'm not advocating doing away with your regular doctor. Having a regular practitioner is important, but the ease of urgent care has thrilled me.

Here's an example. A few months ago Gameboy joined a new (very expensive) exercise program. On day two he discovered that the childhood asthma he though was long gone had become exercise induced asthma. He left class early and after a break slowly drove home. His work schedule has little flexibility and that week he had wall to wall meetings so taking time off to see a doctor was not really feasable. Still I made a few calls and no one could see him for 3-4 days. When he got home I said we should check out the urgent care place that's in our town center. He was seen within 15 minutes, got a full workup, and left with exercise instructions and an inhaler.

This week we made another trip in the hopes of discovering what Gameboy's mystery illness(es) are. For $45 we ruled out a few illnesses, and got two perscriptions. He's still sick, but looks human again.

1 comment:

Personal Finance Firewall said...

Another thing about urgent care, at least in my area is that they are usually pretty good at accommodating those without insurance. I do not have insurance and went in for a pretty big emergency. I did not stay the night but was in the office for a good 3 hours and had an IV and a few doctors/nurses take a look at me. The end price was actually less than I had anticipated and they allowed us to pay the whole bill in full within 10 days for a 50% reduction on the bill.