Are You Experiencing a Medical Emergency? Or Is the Situation Merely Urgent?

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Being treated at an urgent care facility can cost six times less than a visit to a hospital ER. Then again, if you go to a clinic when you really need a hospital, the consequences could be way worse than a fat bill.

The folks at Coupon Sherpa, in a special post at Wise Bread, rounded up a bunch of stats to compare costs between urgent care facilities and ERs. The average costs for treating nine common ailments are three to six times higher at ERs.

Some examples:

The average urgent care center charges $97 for allergy-related problems, whereas ERs standardly charge $345.

Sore Throat
Visit an urgent care center for a sore throat, and your average bill will be $94; at an ER, the average tab comes to $525.

Urinary Tract Infections
Experts recommend you see a doctor as soon as you experience urinary tract infection symptoms. Treatment at urgent care will run $110, as opposed to $665 for a visit to the ER.

The moral is: Don’t go to the emergency room unless it’s a real emergency. The problem is that often, you don’t know what exactly is wrong, and if the situation reaches the level of emergency-hood. That’s why you go see a doctor in the first place.