When you’re unwell, you need to know that you can be seen by a doctor quickly, and not wait days or weeks for an appointment. Most people think of urgent care when they need quick access to a doctor, but there is another alternative.
Direct primary care offers many of the same benefits as urgent care but with a more personalized approach. The two do have some similarities, but their differences are very distinct and should be understood before choosing one option for your family’s care.
Here’s how direct primary care and urgent care differ and why one of them may be a better choice for your family’s medical needs.
What is Urgent Care?
If you need care when your doctor isn’t available, or if you have an illness or injury that isn’t serious enough to require a visit to the emergency room, urgent care is traditionally your first solution. In these situations, an urgent care facility can be a good option for most people.
Although it’s preferable to see your regular doctor, if they’re unavailable and you need immediate care, urgent care clinics can help. You can visit them for minor injuries and illnesses that aren’t serious enough for the emergency room, usually during hours that include evenings and weekends.
Pros and Cons of Urgent Care
Urgent care clinics are helpful for several reasons, but they also have some negatives to consider.
- It’s often easy to be seen at an urgent care clinic without waiting days or weeks to be seen..
- They’re usually less expensive and sometimes less crowded than the emergency room.
- Some take insurance, though your copay may vary.
- Many urgent care clinics are popping up all over, making them more convenient if your doctor is located further away.
- You don’t get to choose your doctor.
- The doctors at urgent care clinics don’t have a chance to develop a relationship with patients. They won’t have your complete medical history.
- Despite being less expensive than an emergency room, you still may have a hefty copay for an urgent care visit.
- You may need ongoing care for your problem, and you won’t be able to see the same doctor at your next visit.
The bottom line with urgent care facilities is that you often trade quality care for convenient care, and that can impact your health in the long term.
What is Direct Primary Care?
Direct primary care is a type of healthcare service designed to make getting medical care easier and less expensive for its members. Instead of paying a fee for each service, members pay a monthly subscription fee covering most of the medical services they’ll need, including preventative care and office visits for illnesses and minor injuries.
Because direct primary care is membership-based, doctors have fewer patients to see, which means they can spend more time with each patient. It’s a more personalized, individualized type of care than traditional healthcare methods, and it has many benefits for its members.
Pros and Cons of Direct Care
There are many benefits for people with a direct primary care membership that make it a better choice than urgent care facilities.
- Every provider in the clinic has full access to your medical history, making it easier to care for you during unexpected illnesses or injuries.
- Urgent primary care means you’ll see someone the same day or the next day for issues that include injuries and illnesses, often with very little wait time.
- If you can’t get an immediate appointment, you’ll still have telephone access to providers 24 hours a day.
- Unlike urgent care, which deals with individual incidents, direct primary care helps you manage chronic conditions, preventive care, and any unexpected illnesses or injuries you may have – including urgent care needs.
- Because you prepay, there are no unexpected fees or copays.
- You have to be a member to take advantage of the services.
- If you have a true emergency that requires a trip to the emergency room, those emergency services aren’t covered. However, your primary care provider will coordinate with the emergency room on your behalf, making the process less stressful.
Which is Right for Me?
Urgent care facilities can be beneficial if you don’t have a primary care physician or don’t have access to your primary care physician. However, direct primary care provides access to medical care 24/7 via telephone, and you can usually be seen the same or the next day, so you don’t have to wait for services.
Since your care under direct primary care is prepaid, you won’t have any unexpected fees to consider, whereas you could have substantial copays with urgent care. And if you have to go back for follow-up care, there could be additional fees with an urgent care facility.
Direct primary care is not, however, a replacement for emergency care, and does not cover emergency room costs, which are covered under most traditional insurance plans (that also cover urgent care). Although, copays may vary between plans.
Ultimately, direct primary care offers all of the same benefits as urgent care without many of the drawbacks. Additionally, direct primary care ensures that you are always seen by providers who know your medical history and treat you appropriately.
Trust Assurance Healthcare & Counseling Center With Your Wellbeing
Your health is the most important thing to you. Trust it to a team of professionals who care about it just as much as you do.
Trust it to Assurance Healthcare & Counseling Center.
With individual, family, and employee membership plans available, we can provide primary care to virtually anyone. With access to caring providers twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, you can rest easy knowing that we will address your concerns quickly so you can get back to living your life. Reach out to our team now and learn more about membership benefits.