Medicare Part B covers visits to urgent care centers, as well as regular doctor appointments and trips to the emergency room. You can visit any urgent care in the country that takes Medicare.
For example, if you cut your hand while slicing vegetables for a salad. You’re worried that you might need stitches. Urgent care can treat your wound.
The urgent care can bill Medicare, and you’ll only pay the portion of the bill in the form of deductibles or copays.
Do Urgent Care Facilities Accept Medicare
Yes, most urgent care facilities do accept Medicare. If the facility accepts Medicare, they’ll also take your Medigap plan.
Occasionally a recipient comes across an urgent care center that is out of network with the Advantage plan. It’s essential to ask the facility each time before getting treatment.
Medicare Supplement Coverage for Urgent Care
A Medicare Supplement plan can help pay for an urgent care visit. Medicare supplements pick up costs that Medicare doesn’t pay.
For example, if you have Medigap Plan N, if the facility accepts Medicare, you’ll pay nothing after meeting the deductible.
Reimbursement for Urgent Care Centers
Part B pays a portion of the cost of a trip to urgent care, as long as the urgent care center accepts Medicare. A few urgent care centers have opted out of Medicare, so it’s best to ask.
Most urgent care centers bill Medicare directly, but occasionally you may have to pay the bill up front and seek reimbursement from Medicare. If you have Medicare Advantage, you may have to ask your plan to reimburse you for emergency treatment from out-of-network urgent care.
Urgent Care vs. ER vs. Retail Clinics
Urgent care, emergency rooms, and retail clinics are all designed to handle immediate medical needs. But there are differences in the kind of care they can provide.
Retail clinics in pharmacies and grocery stores use nurse practitioners. They can diagnose and treat common illnesses like flu, strep throat, and ear infections.
Urgent care centers have doctors on staff. They can handle the same minor illnesses as retail clinics. They can also take x-rays, treat sprains or broken bones, treat minor burns, and stitch up wounds.
Urgent care centers aren’t equipped to handle serious medical emergencies. They don’t have specialists or surgeons and can’t do advanced testing like MRIs and CT scans.
If your gut tells you that you need an emergency room level of care, don’t hesitate to go to the ER.
The emergency room is much more expensive than an urgent care facility. You can keep your healthcare costs down by going to urgent care for minor ailments.
If you have a life-threatening emergency like a heart attack, stroke, head injury, potential overdose, or serious accident, you should always go to the emergency room.
Medicare Urgent Care FAQ’s
Keep Your Urgent Care Costs Down with a Medigap Plan
No matter how healthy you are, accidents and minor illnesses do happen. Without supplemental insurance, you’ll pay 20 percent of the bill for every trip to an emergency room or urgent care facility.
A Medigap plan removes the uncertainty about healthcare costs by paying the portion of the bill that Medicare doesn’t cover. You may pay nothing for an urgent care visit, or you may pay a small copay, depending on your plan.
MedicareFAQ can help you find a plan that meets your needs. To get started with a free quote, call us or fill out our online form.