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Mar16

Urgent care, online care or ER: What's right for you?

When an injury or illness has you down, it’s important to get the care you need—when you need it. If your primary care doctor isn’t available or you don’t have one, what should you do?

It’s not always easy to know when to choose between the emergency room, your nearby urgent care clinic or a convenient online visit from the comfort of your couch or campsite. Making the right decision could save you time and money.

Here’s a look at how the ER, urgent care and online care compare.

Chart comparing costs and when to use ER vs. Urgent Care vs. Online Care

Emergency room for serious, life-threatening issues

The emergency room is always the right choice for serious or life-threatening issues including heart attack or chest pain, stroke, major trauma, loss of consciousness or uncontrollable bleeding. While the ER is fully equipped to treat less serious medical conditions, the average wait time is 2.4 hours and could far exceed that in a busy ER.

A trip to the emergency room can also come with a potentially hefty price tag. According to a study highlighted by The Balance, the average ER visit can cost anywhere from $150 to $3,000, depending on the severity of your injury.

And you can expect a co-pay of about $50 to $100, depending on your medical insurance. That’s a lot of money for a non-life-threatening issue that could be treated elsewhere for less.

Urgent care for minor illnesses and injuries

When you need prompt medical attention for any minor illness or injury, you can rely on  urgent care for help when and where you need it. The medical professionals at  Indigo Urgent Care treat a wide variety of  minor injuries and illnesses, from sinus infections and seasonal allergies to sprains and strains.

Digital X-ray and onsite lab tests are also offered. Indigo offers  COVID testing at its clinics, and some locations have COVID rapid testing with results available in under an hour. 

Indigos are open seven days a week and often have wait times of about 30 minutes or less. For even greater convenience, you can reserve an appointment time online to skip the line. When all is said and done, you’ll receive the care you need so you can quickly get back to feeling better.

For even greater convenience, Indigo locations in Pierce County, Federal Way and Auburn offer  same-day prescription delivery, so you can skip the trip to the pharmacy after your clinic visit. This service will be expanded to more locations throughout the year.

Along with less time, you can also expect to spend less money than you would for a visit to the ER. On average, an in-person urgent care visit will only cost about $200, according to Solv. And you’ll pay less at Indigo if you have insurance and don't need extensive testing. Your co-pay will likely be between $25 and $75. If you don’t have insurance, Indigo charges a simple, flat fee of $225 that covers:

  • An exam evaluation with a medical provider
  • In-clinic lab testing for strep throat, flu tests, UTI, pregnancy (immediate result tests only)
  • X-rays
  • Medication given during the visit

If you do need additional lab testing or other treatment, your Indigo provider will discuss the options with you before moving forward with any services. And you can expect that same kind of transparency throughout your visit—from check-in to checkout.

If you have any doubts about whether urgent care is the best place for you, call your  nearby Indigo Urgent Care before you visit.    

Online care, wherever you are

If you or your little one prefers care for a minor illness or injury from the comfort of home or while out of town, an online visit may be right for you. Indigo Urgent Care offers two simple, convenient and affordable options for residents of Washington and Idaho:

 E-visits involve answering a quick series of questions online and are available 24/7/365. Many insurance plans cover the cost of an E-visit. And for those without insurance, the visit is only $25.

Concerned about a rash or bug bite? Send a picture to our providers. Think you have a UTI? With E-visits, most patients are treated in less than 30 minutes. And if needed, we can even prescribe medication.

If you’d rather meet face-to-face with one of our friendly, certified providers,  video visits connect you within minutes and are available 8 am to 9 pm every day. We accept many insurance plans, but if you do not have coverage, the cost is $99 per visit.

You’ll receive a consultation, care plan and prescription, if needed. In addition to minor illnesses and injuries, video visit consultations are available for individuals who would like to get a COVID-19 test for travel, work or other personal reasons, who do not have symptoms or recent exposure.

Our Indigo Online Care providers also help you navigate other services, such as urgent care or emergency care, if your condition requires more immediate or complex treatment.

Learn more about  Indigo Online Care.

The severity of your condition will play the most important role in your decision on where to seek medical treatment. Knowing your options before illness or injury happen will help ensure you get the care best suited for you and your loved ones.

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