- The article discusses the confusion between freestanding Emergency Rooms (ERs) and urgent care clinics, where patients often mistake the former for the latter due to marketing strategies, leading to significantly higher medical bills.
- Freestanding ERs were originally designed to provide easy access to emergency care, particularly in rural areas. However, their recent proliferation has led to misconceptions about their cost, with patients assuming they are as affordable as urgent care clinics.
- Despite efforts by freestanding ERs to educate patients about their services and costs, during emergencies, patients often feel they have limited options and lack the necessary information to make informed decisions.
- The article highlights the importance of transparency in healthcare, particularly in terms of costs, to help patients make informed decisions about their care.
- The article introduces Solv, a platform that provides transparency in healthcare by allowing users to check insurance eligibility and review expected costs before booking an appointment, thereby reducing unexpected costs and surprises.
NBC News recently did an eye-opening report on the main differences between freestanding Emergency Rooms and urgent care clinics. The differences are vague, not always easy to sniff out, and cause a lot of consumer confusion. Specifically, the report points out that due to deliberate marketing and advertising campaigns, patients often mistake freestanding ERs for urgent clinics. This mistake can end up costing individuals up to 10x more when they receive their medical bill.
What's the Problem with Freestanding ERs?
The confusion and unfamiliarity surrounding freestanding ERs is not surprising. They were conceived in the 70s to create easy access for unexpected emergencies, especially in rural areas where healthcare is difficult to find. More recently, however, the number of freestanding ERs in the U.S has skyrocketed.
Many consumers assume that since they’re receiving fast, convenient care from a freestanding ER in their local strip mall, their bill will be comparable to the prices of neighboring small businesses. But as NBC and others have reported, looks can be deceiving. Bills can be 10x the cost for the same procedure at an urgent care facility.
Many freestanding ERs try to educate patients on their services and costs, but in a desperate time of need, a patient’s options can feel limited. When it comes to care, patients often don’t know where to go or the right questions to ask.
What's the Solution?
One thing that we quickly learned since launching Solv late last year is the value of transparency to our users. Not just in the form of answering the questions of “where should I go?” and “how long will I wait?”, but also: “how much is this going to cost me?”
Our insurance scan feature and up-front cash prices has remained the most important features to our users. Prior to booking an appointment, you can instantly check insurance eligibility by snapping and uploading a photo of your insurance card. If you’re paying out-of-pocket, you can review expected cash prices sourced directly from that clinic to minimize surprises during your visit and upon bill receipt.
Snap a photo of your insurance card, and Solv will make sure you’re covered for your visit.
We know the fear that strikes when an unexpected illness arises. Most patients only think about the fastest road to recovery, not the cost — with Solv, now they can do both.
Frequently asked questions
What are the main differences between freestanding Emergency Rooms and urgent care clinics?The main differences between freestanding Emergency Rooms and urgent care clinics are not always clear to patients, but a key difference is cost. Despite being located in local areas and offering quick, convenient care, freestanding ERs can charge up to 10 times more than urgent care clinics for the same procedure.
Why do patients often mistake freestanding ERs for urgent care clinics?This confusion often arises due to deliberate marketing and advertising campaigns by freestanding ERs. In addition, the physical appearance and location of these ERs, often in local strip malls, can lead patients to assume they are similar to urgent care clinics.
When were freestanding ERs conceived and why?Freestanding ERs were conceived in the 1970s to provide easy access to emergency care, particularly in rural areas where healthcare is difficult to find.
What has been the recent trend in the number of freestanding ERs in the U.S?The number of freestanding ERs in the U.S has significantly increased recently.
What is the typical cost difference between a freestanding ER and an urgent care clinic?Bills from freestanding ERs can be up to 10 times the cost of the same procedure at an urgent care facility.
How does Solv help patients navigate healthcare costs?Solv offers features like an insurance scan and up-front cash prices. Before booking an appointment, patients can check their insurance eligibility by uploading a photo of their insurance card. If they are paying out-of-pocket, they can review expected cash prices sourced directly from the clinic.
What is Solv's approach to healthcare transparency?Solv believes in the value of transparency, not just in terms of where to go and how long the wait will be, but also in terms of cost. They aim to minimize surprises during the visit and upon receipt of the bill.
How does Solv help patients who are paying out-of-pocket?For patients paying out-of-pocket, Solv allows them to review expected cash prices sourced directly from the clinic before booking an appointment. This helps to minimize surprises during the visit and upon receipt of the bill.