Know Your Urgent Care Facility Before You Go

Posted on: 15 October 2019

Urgent care centers are great alternatives to visiting an emergency room. They're also less expensive and have shorter wait times. But by the time you need the services of an urgent care facility, it's already too late to research the ones in your area to find out which are the best and also in your insurance network. The only thing you'll likely be researching at that point is which center is the closest. But because not all urgent care centers are created equal, it's so important to know your options before you need their services. Here's what you should look for and know in advance.


It's important that your chosen facility is accredited. One accrediting body is the UCAOA or Urgent Care Association of America. This organization offers two types of accreditation for urgent care facilities. The first is given by meeting certain standards and requirements, such as having equipment on hand like x-ray or lab technology as well as offering extended hours. The second accreditation from UCAOA requires a higher level of inspection and regulation done through a site visit by a UCAOA inspector. Another accrediting body to look for is the Joint Commission, an independent non-profit that specializes in certifying medical facilities by requiring certain standards. If a facility near you lists an accreditation that looks unfamiliar, make sure to research the accrediting body listed.

In-Network Insurance

Of course, the most urgent question when deciding on a facility is how you'll pay for their services. Making sure the facility is in your insurance network is key to lowering costs. Receiving services from an out-of-network urgent care center will cost more. But even without coverage, the average price for an urgent care visit is between $100 and $150.

Are Appointments Available?

Another piece of information to know beforehand is whether or not you can make an appointment at your local urgent care facility of choice. There are many centers that don't accept appointments, but if yours does, it can save you a lot of wait time if you schedule in advance. Of course, that's only practical for medical problems or issues that don't require immediate care, but it's a piece of information that can save you time if you can choose.


Knowing whether or not your local care facility can dispense prescription medication is also important. If you know your options beforehand, you can choose a facility that has an on-site pharmacy and save yourself a trip.