Those without insurance in 2022 have several options if they need to see a healthcare provider.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, medical providers have started to see patients in their offices again, though telehealth appointments are also available, as well.
Without health insurance, an in-person appointment with a medical provider typically costs between $150 to $450. Telehealth appointments may cost much less.
Factors such as where you are seeking care, lab tests ordered, and other possible procedures will also affect the total cost.
In this article, I will talk about how much it costs to see a doctor without insurance and discuss the differences between primary care and urgent care.
I will also go over factors that affect the overall price and share some tips on saving money.
How Much is a Doctor Visit Without Insurance?
In 2016, the average cost of visiting a healthcare professional in the U.S. was $265.
However, this average depends on the type of medical provider you are seeing and the type of appointment.
For example, the average visit to a primary care provider costs $186, whereas a visit to a specialist costs $335.
Some doctor’s offices and urgent care facilities post their visit fee prices and other various treatment costs on their website. However, most do not.
You can call the doctor’s office or urgent care directly and ask them the prices if needed.
As of January 2022, before treating you, healthcare providers must provide you with a “good faith estimate” if you ask for one, which is a list of possible charges you may receive after your appointment.
You should keep this list and compare it to the bill you get later. If the bill is $400 more than your good faith estimate, you may be eligible to start a patient-provider dispute.
Primary Care vs. Urgent Care
It’s a good idea to become established with a primary care provider in your area to see for routine and preventative services. In addition, they can get to know you and help track your health.
When you are sick, your primary provider may be able to see you rather quickly if you have already become established with them.
Primary providers can usually refer you to a local specialist if a problem comes up outside their scope.
Urgent care facilities are excellent for quick treatment when your primary provider cannot see you. Examples of urgent care situations include:
- Strains, sprains, or minor broken bones
- A cut that may require stitches
- Mild burns
- Mild nausea and vomiting
- Urinary tract infection
Anytime you feel your life is in danger, go to the nearest emergency room or call 911.
Factors That Affect the Price of Doctor’s Visit
Several factors affect how much your doctor’s visit will cost, including the type of appointment you need and the type of medical provider you see.
It also depends on what services you need, your treatment plan, and where your appointment is.
Type of appointment
The type of patient you are will affect how much you’ll pay.
A new patient visit may have a “new patient fee” added to the overall cost of an office visit fee.
This additional cost is because a new patient visit is generally longer than a check-up appointment. The medical provider will get to know you and your medical history and perform a thorough examination.
Type of healthcare provider
The type of provider also determines the price.
Seeing a primary care provider may cost less than seeing a specialist, like a cardiologist, for example.
A primary care provider’s office visit costs an average of $265.
On the other hand, seeing an orthopedic specialist costs around $416 without insurance.
Some primary care providers now also have physician assistants (PAs) or nurse practitioners (NPs) who can also see patients. Sometimes those appointments may cost less than seeing the physician.
What type of services are required for your visit? If your problem is minor, requiring a simple assessment and minimal time, your office visit may cost less.
If you require a more thorough examination and other procedures, such as injections or a lab draw, your visit may cost you more.
Just remember to ask for a good faith estimate before your appointment.
The price will be different depending on where your appointment takes place.
For example, seeing a physician in an emergency department versus a walk-in clinic will significantly affect how much you will pay.
Also, seeing a medical provider in the middle of a large city will have a different price tag than visiting a medical provider on the edge of town.
If you can, check out the prices of medical offices around you before making an appointment.
Seeing a medical provider in person may also cost more than seeing one via a telehealth appointment.
Tips to Save Money on Doctor’s Visits
Here are some tips to save money on your medical appointments.
Ask for a self-pay discount
When you call to make your appointment, let the receptionist know you will be a self-pay patient.
Ask them if the office has special pricing for cash-paying patients.
Sometimes this method is even cheaper than rates for insured people.
Price shop for providers
Call ahead to medical offices in your area and ask questions before deciding where to make an appointment. Calling different towns around you may have significant price differences.
Ask questions such as:
- How much is a new patient appointment?
- How much is a follow-up visit?
- How much is an annual check-up?
- How much do routine labs cost?
If you know you need specific services, ask about those too.
For example, you may want to ask how much the office charges to check blood sugar.
Community health clinics are great resources for affordable care. Some of these clinics offer specific services for free, and many allow people to pay using a “sliding scale” based on their income.
Find an alternative care option
Telehealth has dramatically expanded in the last few years. Many private telehealth companies have started, and private physicians have also begun offering telehealth as part of their services.
A K Health appointment is a wonderful option for uninsured people. However, insured people can also benefit from its quick and affordable service.
For $35, you can schedule a one-time appointment with a board-certified clinician, or you get unlimited visits for $49 a month. There are no extra fees or strings attached.
Our clinicians can check your medical history, offer advice, determine if you need medication, prescribe it, and sometimes even mail it to you.
If you prefer to fill prescriptions at your pharmacy, K Health gives you an Rx discount card to help you save up to 80%.
Lastly, K Health is FSA- and HSA-compatible. There are no hidden deductibles or copays, and you save on transportation costs because the visits are online.
When to See a Healthcare Provider Without Insurance
It’s never a good idea to avoid seeking medical care because you don’t have insurance.
In fact, not getting proper treatment can become a much bigger and more costly problem.
There are affordable options available, and it’s just a matter of doing a bit of research and finding where the deals are.
If you feel your life is in danger, seek immediate care from an emergency room or call 911.
Did you know you can get affordable primary care with the K Health app?
Download K to check your symptoms, explore conditions and treatments, and if needed text with a healthcare provider in minutes. K Health’s AI-powered app is HIPAA compliant and based on 20 years of clinical data.
Frequently Asked Questions
K Health has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.
Choosing between urgent and emergency care. (2021.)
Direct-to-consumer telehealth may increase access to care but does not decrease spending. (2017.)
Expenses for office-based physician visits by specialty and insurance type, 2016. (2018.)
Understanding costs in advance. (2022.)
Understanding regular vs. emergency healthcare. (2020.)