In most cases, catastrophic illnesses or injuries result in people making a trip to the emergency room. In 2016, there were more than 145.6 million visits to the emergency room, according to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over 40 million emergency room visits were due to injury. While emergency rooms remain popular, many people seek treatment from urgent care centers.

Urgent care centers offer people an alternative to visiting a primary care physician or an emergency room. Such facilities are convenient solutions for people who have an illness or an injury that needs immediate care but isn’t severe enough to require emergency room services.

When illnesses and injuries happen outside the standard weekday work hours (nine-to-five) people who need medical attention should seek treatment at after-hours urgent care facilities, such as the Vanguard Medical Group offices, for example. Vanguard Medical Group offers extended hours, seeing patients early in the morning, during evenings, and on Saturdays.

More than eight thousand urgent care facilities exist in the United States, according to the Urgent Care Association. The number of urgent care centers continues increasing as the urgent care industry grows. Each year, urgent care clinics handle an estimated 89 million visits from patients. Urgent care facilities continue to grow in popularity because of their convenience. People can receive unscheduled treatment at urgent care centers, with typical hours extending to nine at night or later, seven days each week.

While it’s unusual for some urgent care centers to keep a patient’s medical history like primary care doctors’ offices do, they do have the technology and equipment necessary to treat medical conditions and injuries. Urgent care centers are capable of lab testing, performing x-rays, casting broken bones, and administering flu shots and blood-sugar tests, among other services.

Compared to emergency rooms, urgent care centers can be beneficial and superior in cases of illnesses and injuries that aren’t severe. In emergency rooms, patients receive treatment based on the severity of their situation and condition, which means patients with life-threatening injuries receive treatment first. For this reason, patients with less severe injuries may have to wait for a long time before a doctor sees them, even if they arrive earlier. At urgent care centers, however, professionals see patients on a first-come, first-serve basis. On average, the time from arrival to departure for emergency room cases is an estimated two hours and fifteen minutes. By comparison, patients spend less than thirty minutes at urgent care centers, on average.

In 2017, the average emergency room visit cost $1,389. Urgent care services, on average, cost between $100 and $150. Going to an urgent care facility, such as Vanguard Medical Group, can help people save on out-of-pocket medical expenses. The cost of urgent care services, in general, depends on the medical situation and the conditions of one’s health insurance.

People who don’t have health insurance, can’t get employer-backed coverage or want a new policy, should consider getting temporary health insurance to defray the costs of urgent care visits caused by injuries, accidents, and illnesses. Insurance-seekers should consult Agile Health Insurance, the leading online resource for short-term health plans. Agile short term medical insurance plans provide solutions for a variety of temporary needs. Short-term medical coverage enables people to pay for urgent care, emergency care, and medical care, planned surgeries, and prescriptions in the cases of diagnoses of chronic conditions. Temporary insurance plans allow people to seek medical services from their current primary care physician or another medical professional, at any hospital or health facility. For this reason, short-term coverage is perfect for people who medical treatment at urgent care centers at any time, for any reason.