Health and Fitness Tips

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Family walk in clinic

Insurance is a scary topic. It doesn’t have to be.

With the new year comes all the frustrating questions on how you’re going to pay for your medical care. Are you going to change insurance plans or expand on an already existing one? Do you have pre-existing conditions that need coverage or do you fear more for minor to moderate illnesses that need quick treatment? No matter where you land on the scale, urgent care is a tried-and-true medical resource. Providing everything from flu shots to cheap STD testing, an urgent care clinic can give you the preventative care and quick treatment you need to keep your health sound and your wallet full.

Here’s how it works.

The United States is still seeing shifts in its medical coverage, with insurance plans changing and medical facilities hastily altering their policy to adapt to current policy. The country is home to over 6,800 urgent care centers, the majority of which are freestanding buildings rather than linked to different departments. A family walk in clinic or immediate care center may have a few minor differences, but their primary goal is to provide affordable and quick on-the-spot care to whoever walks in. These range from broken bones to minor burns to pain medication for moderate illnesses.

The field of urgent care medicine is highly specialized and only increasing in demand. It’s estimated two-thirds of all centers will employ a mixture of physicians, nurse practitioners and physicians in their model. Easily one of the most anticipated attributes of the urgent care model is in the name — it prioritizes fast and accurate care to get you taken care of and back out the door as soon as possible. According to data provided by The Urgent Care Association Of America, nearly 60% of all patients will wait just 15 minutes to be seen by a medical professional.

No matter what you’re going through, a trip to the urgent care center will see you diagnosed and assisted to the fullest of the staff’s ability. Not only will you have basic treatment for your ailment or injury, you will save much more money than if you had gone straight to the emergency room. In fact, the typical emergency room visit costs nearly $1,500, while treatment at an urgent care facility can be as low as $150. Some of the most common issues brought to the attention of an urgent care center are broken bones, sprained ankles, burns, cuts, abdominal pain, nausea, headaches, breathing difficulties, minor illness and chest pain.

It’s estimated emergency room visits have reached 110 million every year in the United States alone. The country will see nearly seven million broken bones each year and the average child will catch anywhere between six to 10 colds in a year. If you have symptoms that are starting to reach moderate levels or have lasted for longer than a week, a trip to the urgent care center can give you the diagnosis you need to either receive treatment or a referral to a specialist. Medical tests can be done to screen for potential issues and should be taken seriously, no matter how minor.

Preventative care is just as important as basic treatment. It’s estimated as many as 20% of Americans will come down with the flu in a given year, topped off with a collective one billion colds. Your average urgent care clinic will be able to give you medication for more severe colds as well as flu shots to keep you from getting sick — since the flu virus is always adapting it’s imperative you get your shot updated year after year to remain covered. Your body will take around two weeks to fully adapt to the new strain, so make sure to wash your hands regularly, keep them away from your face and drink plenty of water.

Over three million patients will visit an urgent care center every week in the United States. Make the urgent care model part of your medical package and save yourself money and stress as you aim for your best year yet.