1DEFINING URGENT CARE
While it's often used as a blanket term for any sort of immediate
medical need, urgent care has a slightly more specific meaning.
Emergency care is what's needed by a person in immediate
danger of death or life-altering injury (loss of a limb, blindness,
etc). Urgent care, however, is provided to people who require
treatment for illnesses or injuries that require rapid (within 24
hours) medical attention and treatment but aren't necessarily
life-threatening (minor bone breaks and sprains, moderate fever,
For active duty personnel, retirees, many reservists, and their
families, Tricare covers urgent care just as it does all other
medical necessities. While their coverage is fairly comprehensive
and wide-ranging, it's always best to ensure a location you're
considering for urgent care is one of their listed providers. If
you're moving, PCS-ing, going on temporary order, or simply
taking a trip, it's well worthwhile to check ahead and see where
the nearest urgent care provider(s) in the Tricare network will be.
Particularly if you're going overseas.
3VA URGENT CARE BENEFITS
If you're enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs
healthcare program and received any kind of care from a VA
facility or community provider in the last two years, you're
eligible for this particular program. It allows you to receive
urgent care from any of the many, many facilities in the VA’s
contracted network. Identify yourself as a veteran using this
benefit when you check in and, once your eligibility is
confirmed by the clinic, they'll take care of whatever you need.
As with most medical services, you may be charged a copay for
any services or prescriptions you receive.
For family members or veterans ineligible for VA urgent care for
whatever reason, urgent care is typically covered by any standard
health insurance. But for uninsured individuals, the thought of
paying for any sort of non-life saving medical care, however
necessary, can be worrisome. Luckily, urgent care is fairly
inexpensive (far less than emergency care, even), with average
costs for a clinic visit under $200. Sure, not the cheapest thing in
the world, but probably worth it to get vital medical attention.