If you go to an Emergency room, it will usually cost
much more than it would to be seen in a doctor’s office or urgent care!
Some problems are so severe that they should be managed
in the emergency room. If the problem is very severe (such as severe chest
pain), rapidly worsening or appears to be progressively limiting the ability to
breathe, speak, stay conscious, move about or move an extremity, then you probably need
to be seen in the emergency room. Dial 911 for true emergencies or have a
family member or friend drive you to the nearest emergency room. While
it certainly may be necessary to use Emergency Medical Services (911), these
transport services are very costly!
If you already know which doctor you want to see, you may
be able to get advice over the phone about whether you need to go to the
emergency room or where else you can be evaluated.
You can save a lot money if you are seen in a doctor's office or an urgent care
rather than an emergency room.
At an urgent care, you likely will not see the same physician
each time you visit; whereas, if you go to a doctor's office you can establish an
ongoing relationship with that doctor for your future medical needs.
Remember, established patients typically
pay significantly less for a visit than do new
And, if you are seen by a physician and subsequently
another physician for the same problem, it will likely cost you more than twice what you would have paid had you gone to
the right physician from the start.
steps may help you identify the most appropriate physician to see from the
web based PDF document from the
American Board of Medical Specialties explains which specialists treat
what kind of problems.
American Board of Medical Specialties also lets one
Board Certified specialist in your area and it has
links to its
If you can't identify
a single specialty that seems appropriate, you may want to see an
Practice (adults and children), or
(children and adolescents) physician. These are often referred to as
primary care specialties. They treat many problems themselves
and are skilled at referring patients to the most appropriate specialists
to manage more complex problems.
Using the online tools,
locate Board Certified physicians in you area. Call their offices and
confirm that the doctor can likely manage your particular
problem and, if appropriate what the approximate cost of a first-time
visit for your problem
might be and whether they offer