Are you struggling to pay your out-of-pocket healthcare expenses, even with insurance? Tired of waiting weeks to get an appointment with your physician or a specialist? You’re not alone.
The Atlantic reports that even with employer-provided health insurance, out-of-pocket expenses “have increased by more than 50 percent since 2010.” In addition, “the Kaiser Family Foundation reports that in 2016, half of all insurance policy-holders faced a deductible, the amount people need to pay on their own before their insurance kicks in, of at least $1,000.”
The good news is, there’s relief. Walk-in retail clinics within convenience stores like CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, and other retailers have been working to address these issues—and they’re expanding every year. By 2018, the number of retail clinics in the U.S. is projected to pass 2800.
Retail-based clinics are staffed with the same reliably skilled medical practitioners you’ll find at your primary care provider (PCP), and they offer convenient and extended hours, walk-in availability, and industry-leading use of features like electronic medical records.
Retail clinics provide care for approximately 100 of the most common primary care needs, and they’re not only convenient, they’re also incredibly affordable. Prices for the most common services range from $79-$129, and they’re visibly posted just like any other retail service. Most importantly, these clinics are open seven days a week, as well as after hours, with no appointment needed. No more waiting to feel better.
For non-life-threatening injuries like a broken bone, cut finger, or dehydration, a hospital emergency room is not the ideal place to go. Instead you should seek care at a local urgent care clinic, which will save you time and money. Heading to an ER with these kinds of injuries can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
In fact, after following the lead of retail clinics, many urgent care clinics are now posting flat cash or self-pay prices if being “in-network” is an issue or if you’re uninsured. Research shows that patients can save 5-10x on a bill by visiting a retail or urgent care clinic rather than your local ER. What does that look like in practice? A visit to diagnose and treat an ear infection could cost around $450-$600 at an ER but would cost between $69-$125 at a retail or urgent care clinic. That’s real money and savings!
To help close the gap between traditional facilities and PCPs, retail and urgent care clinics are focused on meeting and delivering a better consumer experience. The top basic acute-care needs covered at these clinics include:
- Cold & flu symptoms
- Sore throat
- Strep throat
- Ear infection
- Pink eye
They also offer care for the following chronic conditions:
- Weight loss and obesity
- Smoking cessation
- Diabetes monitoring
- High-blood-pressure monitoring
- Allergies & asthma
Healthcare expenses typically increase year over year with higher monthly premiums and higher costs of care. There are definite ways to save, but this requires a change in thinking about where we seek care. The next time you feel the need to see your healthcare provider, think about retail and urgent care clinics as your first line of defense to save time and money while still receiving a high-standard of medical care.
Looking for more ways to save on healthcare? RokketMed is an app that helps you find the most convenient, affordable, and quality healthcare options near your home or workplace.