When you get sick, the first person you probably call is your primary care physician. If you're lucky, you are able to see your doctor right away. However, there are instances when your doctor is either out of town or they do not have any available appointments. In either of these cases you might wonder what your options are as far as getting the necessary medical care. One option is to go to an urgent care center.

If you need to know more about this type of medical center, here are the answers to three frequently asked questions about urgent care.

1. What Types of Diagnostic Tests Are Available at Urgent Care?

In order to offer the appropriate treatment, the first thing that needs to happen is getting a proper diagnosis. In order to do this, you may have to undergo diagnostic testing. The good news is, urgent care services include several different types of diagnostic tests, including the following:

  • X-rays
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG)
  • Urinalysis
  • Drug screening
  • Blood tests

You can also get tested for certain illnesses, such as mononucleosis, strep throat, influenza, uterine tract infections, and sexually transmitted diseases. Urgent care centers also offer pregnancy tests for women.

2. When Is It a Good Idea to Seek Urgent Care Services?

Anytime you are ill and it's not possible to see your doctor or go to a walk-in clinic, you will want to consider urgent care services. Anytime you are out of town and get ill, going to the urgent care center is a good idea as well.

Some of the most common reasons people seek urgent care include:

  • Falls or accidents
  • Cuts that might need stitches
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Broken fingers or toes
  • Fever
  • Skin rash
  • Continual vomiting or diarrhea
  • Dehydration

If you have a life-threatening injury or accident, you should not seek urgent care, but instead go to the ER.

3. How Much Does Urgent Care Cost?

A typical trip to urgent care costs around $150. To help cover this cost, most health care plans cover urgent care visits. Depending on what kind of insurance you have, you may only need to pay a copay. You can expect this copay to be anywhere from $25 to $75. Some health insurance plans will apply the cost for urgent care to your deductible.

Before you go to urgent care, you should contact your health insurance company to see what urgent care centers are in their network. Staying in network will help to keep urgent care costs as low as possible.