Health care in the United States can be divided into three major categories: emergency, urgent and general.
Always call 9-1-1 in an emergency situation, like when a person loses consciousness or has been in a serious accident. A 9-1-1 call will bring an ambulance which may take the injured or sick for further care to a hospital. But ambulance service is expensive, and can be avoided by taking advantage of urgent care facilities.
Urgent care medical facilities are useful for those times when a visit to a doctor’s office may not help or isn’t possible, but a trip to the emergency room isn’t quite necessary. For example, when a child comes home with a strange rash on a Sunday afternoon, or when someone twists their ankle during an evening game of soccer, or for people who might need a prescription for a cold or some other illness.
A visit to one of the five urgent care facilities in the city usually costs about $70-$115, but that cost could go up, if additional tests are needed.
Finally, general health care refers to things like regular or routine visits to a personal or family doctor. The city has hundreds of doctors to choose from, and the best choice may be between those whose offices are nearest home or work. Of course all of these services are not free, and are in fact sometimes quite expensive. So, most Americans buy health insurance to help cover those costs.
Buying health insurance is easy, but understanding it and how it works isn’t.
Healthcare.gov is a good resource for people looking into buying insurance or those who just want to understand it better. Some of the services provided by Healthcare.gov:
- Find insurance plans and rates for you and/or your family after a quick online questionarrie.
- Explains how insurance works.
- Compare doctors, hospitals, and other medical services
- Shows low-cost options for health care
There are two main options for people who cannot afford health insurance: Medicaid or free clinics.
Medicaid is a government funded program for low-income people that pays for necessary medical treatment.
The People’s Health Center is another low-cost option for non-emergency health care. Services range from regular doctor visits to dental and mental care. Uninsured patients pay at a rate dependent upon income. For example, a doctor visit will cost about $20 for a patient in a family of four with a $20,000 annual income.
All of the major facilities in the city, including counseling and substance abuse treatment centers can be found on the Mosaic map.