If you had a minor illness or medical issue that needed attention, yet you were under-insured or had no medical insurance at all, what would you do? Walk-in medical clinics can help, in that they provide medical care and services at a lower cost than hospital emergency rooms. If you are considering the services of a walk-in medical clinic, you should ask a few pertinent questions so you will be prepared and know what to expect. Here are a few important questions to ask:
1. What Are the Payment Options?
This is an important detail you need to know straight away. Many walk-in medical clinics accept cash, as well as debit and credit card payments. For those paying with cash, debit or credit, the cost may be considerably lower. Payment is often required at the time of service. However, if you choose to have the clinic bill your insurance company, you need to inquire whether this entails a standard contracted office rate, which is often higher than other options. Any balance that your insurance does not cover will be charged to you.
2. What Treatment and Services Do You Offer?
A walk-in clinic may attend to a number of medical issues, primarily those that are considered minor. For instance, you might choose choose to go to a walk-in clinic for an upper respiratory infection, seasonal allergy, sore throat or digestive upset. Minor injuries are often treated as well, such as cuts, abrasions and minor burns. You might want to also inquire about vaccinations, work related physical exams, pregnancy tests and x-rays as needed. Many walk-in medical clinics offer these services as well.
3. What Are the Weekend and Holiday Hours?
Many walk-in clinics offer convenient weekday and evening hours. Some clinics also offer weekend and holiday hours as well. Don't assume the facility is open round the clock, as an emergency room would be. Call ahead and ask about hours. Walk-in clinics, as the name suggests, means you can walk right in without an appointment. However, if the clinic is busy, you may a long wait. If possible, get there early in the morning or at "off-hours", or you could end up waiting a long while to be seen.
4. Is There An Age Restriction for Patients?
Some walk-in clinics only treat adults. Some facilities treat adults and adolescents. Then there are walk-in medical clinics like Milford Hospital that treat all ages, including infants and children. If your child needs a physician, be sure the clinic offers pediatric services.