17 May Urgent Care Clinics
Bona fide emergencies are almost always treated as in-network by insurance companies regardless of the network status of the provider (it’s a requirement). However, what do you do if you don’t have a life or limb threatening emergency but you need treatment sooner than later? Urgent care centers are the perfect solution, right?
Urgent care centers can be great, but they are also not emergency rooms. They may look and feel like cheaper alternatives to the emergency room but as a smart consumer do your research. Think of urgent care as a doctor’s office visit without an appointment. If your plan uses a network (almost all do) you will want to use in-network urgent care centers whenever possible.
To make it easier to find them, most large carriers have phone apps. They also publish lists of their network providers.
Avoid scrambling at the worst time by posting a list or map (on your refrigerator or note board) of the nearest participating hospitals, emergency rooms and urgent care centers. If the time comes, you’ll know in advance where to go without too much thought.
There’s only so much you can control but be aware of some of the other complications.
- The emergency room/urgent care center combo: Literally, one side of the office is an emergency room and the other is urgent care.
- The ‘hidden provider’: You do all of your due diligence to make sure your doctor and facility are in network only to get the bill and discover that the anesthesiologist or surgical assistant were non-network.
- The surprise facility charge: The provider’s office is ‘part’ of the hospital so when you go there you incur a facility charge on top of your office visit cost.
- Ambulance: Many times ambulances are treated as non-network by default until additional information is provided.
If you or your employees find yourself in one of these situations give us a call. Many times we are able to get the problem resolved.