It’s normal to be very frightened during an unexpected medical situation; however, if you plan ahead, you will likely make the right choice if this occasion arises. But what if you don’t? Here are some things to ease your mind:
Even though urgent care clinics are usually not equipped to handle life-or-limb threatening emergency situations, if a patient comes to the clinic with a life-or-limb threatening emergency, the urgent care staff will usually call 9-1-1 and stabilize the patient while they wait for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to arrive. It’s important to note that in this situation, attention from trained medical personnel is better than no medical attention and they will help you make the right decisions. Payments under these circumstances vary from case to case.
Free-Standing Emergency Rooms
In Colorado, FSERs are bound by EMTALA and therefore must treat, screen, and stabilize any person coming to the facility with an emergency before asking for their insurance status or ability to pay out-of-pocket. However, once stabilized a patient will be responsible for covering the cost of care received either with insurance or out-of-pocket.
The FSER will usually bill insurance carriers with whom they already have contracts directly for their portion and then charge the patient for any deductible or co-pay that applies. This is where you may get hit hard with a large bill, and if it is something that could have been treated at Urgent Care instead, you may kick yourself for the financial impact of that choice, but you won’t regret the care you’ve received.
You have a right to be informed! We hope this information will help you feel more confident about your ability to make the right choice if the need arises.