Four Things To Know Before Your First Urgent Care Visit

Urgent care centers are popping up across the nation. Offering quick and thorough care for injuries and minor medical problems, they're a speedy alternative to the emergency room. However, visiting an urgent care center may seem a little strange or different if you've never done so before. Here are some things to know before your first visit.

Patients without insurance are welcome.

If you have health insurance, there is a good chance the urgent care center will accept it. Most make an effort to work with as many health insurance companies as possible so they can offer care to a greater number of patients. However, if you do not have health insurance, you can still receive treatment at the urgent care center. And you might be surprised how affordable the cost will be. Most bills are in the hundreds of dollars, whereas visiting an emergency room may cost you thousands for similar care.

You can often check in online.

One way that urgent care centers are doing an even better job of reducing wait times is by allowing patients to check in online. Visit your urgent care center's website to see if they offer this service. By entering your information and the basics about your illness or injury ahead of time, you give the clinic time to prepare for you. By the time you arrive, with any luck, a doctor will be ready to see you.

They'll refer you to another practitioner if needed.

If the problem you visit the urgent care center for is too serious for them to solve, they will refer you to another medical professional. If you need to see a surgeon to repair a cut that severed a tendon, for example, they will send you off to a hospital where someone can do that. If you need hospitalization for an illness, they'll send an ambulance and transport you there, too.

You will need a form of identification.

Chances are, you do not visit the urgent care center every day! So unlike your primary care physician's office, they won't know who you are—and they will need to see a form of identification to verify your identity. Bring along your driver's license, passport, or other government ID to make sure you can get service.

Now that you know a bit more about what a visit to the urgent care center entails, you're all set for a prompt and productive visit.