Posted by Naomi Nessim, June 24, 2017 (last updated on July 23, 2019)
NBC News recently did an eye-opening report on the 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.