Urgent care vs. emergency room visit cost
Ashburn, VA

Urgent care vs. emergency room visit cost

Ashburn, VA

Urgent care vs. emergency room visit cost

$150 – $250average urgent care visit cost (without insurance)
$1,500 – $3,000average ER visit cost (without insurance)

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$150 – $250 average urgent care visit cost (without insurance)

$1,500 – $3,000 average ER visit cost (without insurance)


Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
Are you a clinic? Get new customers
Tara Farmer
Written by
Tara Farmer
Edited by
Kristen Cramer

Emergency room vs. urgent care cost

The average urgent care visit costs $150 to $250 without insurance, while an emergency room visit costs $1,500 to $3,000 for the same service. While you should go to the ER for serious health concerns, visiting an urgent care center is the best choice for most non-life-threatening health issues.

ER vs. urgent care cost
Factor Urgent Care Emergency room
Average cost without insurance $150 – $250 $1,500 – $3,000
Average wait time 30 minutes 90+ minutes
Best for Minor health issues Life-threatening situations

Get free estimates from near you.

What's the difference between urgent care and the emergency room?

Urgent care centers are meant for illnesses and injuries that are not life-threatening. These same-day clinics also provide other healthcare services, like routine physicals, imaging, and lab tests.

The emergency room is intended for critical, life-threatening situations that need immediate attention, such as a major injury, heart attack, stroke, or uncontrollable bleeding.

A doctor listening to a patient's heart through a stethoscope.
A doctor listening to a patient's heart through a stethoscope.

Cost comparison for common conditions

Many people go to the ER for health concerns that could be handled at an urgent care center for much cheaper. The cost of an urgent care visit is typically much less than the cost of an emergency room visit to treat the same ailment.

The table below shows the average costs for common conditions treated at an urgent care center or the ER.

Common conditions and costs
Condition / treatment Average ER cost (without insurance) Average urgent care cost (without insurance)
Acute bronchitis $800 – $2,500 $150 – $300
Allergic reactions $400 – $4,500 $100 – $200
Sprains & strains $1,000 – $2,000 $100 – $400
Pink eye $300 – $400 $80 – $200
Sore throat $500 – $2,700 $100 – $200
Open wound / stitches $500 – $1,500 $200 – $400
Urinary tract infection (UTI) $1,200 – $3,000 $125 – $200

The emergency room entrance at a hospital.
The emergency room entrance at a hospital.

When to go to urgent care vs. the emergency room

Research shows 30% to 50%+ of emergency room patients could have been treated at an urgent care facility, often at a much lower cost. With healthcare prices constantly increasing, consider your options to make the best decision for your situation.

Call 9-1-1 or go to the ER for any serious, potentially life-threatening symptoms, such as:

  • Deep wound

  • Fever that does not resolve with over-the-counter medicine

  • Major broken bones

  • Poisoning

  • Trouble breathing

  • Seizure

  • Serious head injury

  • Severe allergic reaction

  • Severe burn

  • Signs of a heart attack or stroke

  • Sudden severe pain

  • Sudden change in vision

  • Sudden confusion

  • Suddenly feeling weak or unable to move, speak, or walk

  • Uncontrollable bleeding

Consider an urgent care facility if you are experiencing a non-critical health issue and your primary doctor's office is closed or cannot fit you into the schedule. Urgent care centers can handle most non-emergency healthcare services, including:

  • Treatment for minor illnesses and injuries

  • Physicals needed for sports, school, or employment

  • Diagnostic lab testing

  • X-rays

  • Vaccines

  • Medications

  • Medical equipment

Get free estimates from near you.
An urgent care facility sign and front entrance.
An urgent care facility sign and front entrance.

Tips to save on urgent care and ER costs

No matter where you get treated, healthcare bills can add up quickly, even if you have insurance. Here are some guidelines to ensure you don't overpay for your care:

  • Assess your situation before heading straight to the ER. If your health issue is not life threatening, consider going to an urgent care center instead as the cost for the same services can be much lower.

  • If you do need emergency care, go to a hospital-based ER when possible. Freestanding ER centers typically cost more than hospital-based emergency rooms.

  • Call ahead to confirm the current wait time, costs, and payment options. Many urgent care centers require payment at the time of service.

  • Consider asking the following questions up front to prevent surprises in your bill:

    • Do you have discounted pricing for uninsured patients?

    • Do you work with any charitable organizations that could help with my costs?

    • Will this cost less if I pay with cash?

    • What will the cost be for my specific issue?

    • Do you think I will need lab tests or scans, and what will they cost?

    • How much do you charge for X-rays and imaging?

    • If I need medication, how much will it cost?