24/7 “Walk-In” Clinics – A Good Health Care Option?

Personally I want to have an ongoing relationship with a primary care physician. I want a physician who knows me!

A New York Times article focused on the rapid growth “walk-in” clinics, often open 24/7, staffed by either a physician or nurse practitioner.

“Typically, co-payments are more than an office visit but less than an emergency room visit…,” For one company “data shows that the average payment at its clinics for an insured patient is $45, compared to the national average of $180 for an emergency room visit. (A typical co-payment for a visit at a doctor’s office is $10 to $20 on many insurance plans…).”

“Do urgent care clinics accept health insurance? Most urgent care visits are covered by insurance… and many clinics accept both private insurance and Medicare, the federal health program for the elderly. As with any medical provider, however, coverage varies, so ask if the center takes your specific plan. The Center for Studying Health System Change found that few of the centers accepted Medicaid, but that some offered discounts for patients who paid their bill in full at the time of service.”

Click here to read the full NYT’s article “A Quicker Trip to the Doctor, for Minor Ailments” by Ann Carrns.

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Doctor, Did You Wash Your Hands? ™ provides information to consumers on understanding, managing and navigating health care options.

Jonathan M. Metsch, Dr.P.H., is Clinical Professor, Preventive Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; and Adjunct Professor, Baruch College ( C.U.N.Y.), Rutgers School of Public Health, and Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration.

This blog shares general information about understanding and navigating the health care system. For specific medical advice about your own problems, issues and options talk to your personal physician.

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