Choose the right level of care

When you need care, knowing your options can save you time and money. When you choose the right level of care for your needs, it helps keep costs affordable for everyone.

Here are some options from lower to higher cost:
Nurse advice line (no cost to you) — See if your health plan or your clinic offers a nurse advice line, which may be available in the evening or on weekends.

  • e-visits ($) — Ask your clinic if you can connect with your doctor online to stay in touch for non-urgent issues. It costs less than a regular visit.
  • Retail health clinic ($) — For common minor illnesses, a retail health clinic can be an excellent choice: faster, cheaper and more convenient. Extended hours, no appointment. Average cost is about half of a visit to a traditional medical clinic. Look for these clinics in grocery stores, pharmacies and discount stores.
  • Doctor’s office ($$) — Offers a wide variety of services from routine checkups to diagnosis of a health issue.
  • Urgent care center ($$$) — Handles many problems that can be treated in a doctor’s office. Offers some services not generally found in a doctor’s office, including X-rays and minor trauma rooms.
  • Emergency room ($$$$) — An emergency room should be used only for the most serious or life-threatening conditions.

More articles & resources

Most cost-effective place of care (video) ExternalLink

7 ways to save on health care costs

Find a doctor, clinic or specialist