Where to Go for Healthcare

Medically Reviewed

You can go to a doctor’s office, a walk-in clinic, an urgent care center, an emergency room, or even a “virtual” visit for healthcare, but some cost more than others.

• Primary care: Your doctor is your long-term partner who diagnoses and treats chronic illnesses and injuries, ensuring a continuum of care. He or she also provides routine health exams, regular screenings, vaccinations and prescription refills. Cost: Moderate to expensive

• Walk-in clinic: For same-day care without an appointment, a retail health clinic provides limited healthcare services for prevention and common, easy-to-treat ailments. Cost: Low

• Telehealth: Sometimes called “virtual urgent” or “anywhere care,” you can connect with a doctor or a nurse, depending on the service, via phone or secure web video connection. Services are limited to common ailments that can be assessed remotely, such as cold and flu symptoms or skin irritations. Cost: Low

• Urgent care: Providing a wider scope of services than walk-in clinics, such as diagnostic X-rays and stitches, as well as an on-site physician in many locations, urgent care centers are a same-day, walk-in option. When you need to see a doctor after hours, but your situation doesn’t warrant an emergency visit, urgent care may be the right choice. Cost: Moderate

• Emergency care: Reserve a visit to the emergency department for life-threatening con- ditions. Symptoms that require emergency healthcare include chest pain; shortness of breath; bleeding that won’t stop; numbness in your face, arm or leg; swelling in your legs; seizures; or severe abdominal or head pain. Cost: Expensive