Best Urgent Care Centers

Get the medical care you need in non-life-threatening situations

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If you’ve ever been to an emergency room with a non-life-threatening illness or injury, chances are you spent many hours—and a lot of money—to get medical attention. Urgent care centers, on the other hand, are staffed by physicians, nurses, medical technicians, and other healthcare providers who can handle your non-trauma medical needs, from stitches to strep throat to sprained ankles and more, quickly and affordably. The next time you need same-day medical care, an urgent care center might be your best option to save time and cash. In fact, an urgent care visit will cost you on average less than one-tenth of what an ER would charge. 

With more than 9,600 urgent care locations in the United States, chances are there’s one near you. We researched different urgent care centers and looked at a multitude of factors—their pricing, forms of insurance accepted, company reputation, number of locations, ways of getting an appointment, hours of operation, and website—to help you select the best one for your needs.

Best Urgent Care Centers of 2021

Important

The average cost for a non-emergency visit at an ER is north of $2,000, and the average wait is two and a half hours. The average cost for urgent care is less than $200, and the average visit lasts for about an hour.

Best Overall : AFC Urgent Care

AFC Urgent Care

AFC Urgent Care

Why We Chose It: American Family Care (AFC) Urgent Care has clear pricing, high customer satisfaction ratings, two programs for people without health insurance, care for all ages, and simple online registration.

What We Like
  • People of all ages accepted

  • Programs to help people who don't have health insurance

  • Costs listed for self-pay customers

  • Cash discount

  • Online scheduling option

  • Spanish-language site available

What We Don't Like
  • Only in 27 states

  • Not all centers offer telehealth

  • Prices and websites vary widely by location

Each AFC Urgent Care center is very specialized based on its location. For example, some offer Spanish translation or special discount coupons for uninsured patients. To book an appointment for either in-person or telemedicine visits, enter your location information to find the nearest location(s), select the service you need, and then see available times at your preferred location. You will enter your contact information and fill out a registration form before booking your visit. Telehealth appointments are scheduled 12 minutes apart, while in-person visits are spaced out in 15-minute increments.

AFC accepts most forms of insurance and Medicare, and the company bills insurance companies directly. Its three-tier pricing varies by location. Typical prices are:

  • Level 1: Provider visit from $96
  • Level 2: Provider visit with in-house lab work, $120 to $145 (strep, flu, mono)
  • Level 3: Level 2 visit, plus X-ray or medication, $140 to $175
  • Level 4: Level 2 or 3 plus sutures, splinting, or burn care, $200 to $240

Self-pay customers will receive a 20% discount off regular prices.

As of April 2021, AFC is open in 27 states: Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

Note: We included data from SOLV, an urgent care aggregator, in our calculations of customer reviews and overall ratings.

Runner-Up, Best Overall : CareSpot/MedPost

CareSpot/MedPost

CareSpot/MedPost

Why We Chose It: CareSpot/MedPost urgent care is our runner-up for best overall based on its high customer ratings, extended hours, accessibility and convenient scheduling options, and an online robo-chat feature.

What We Like
  • Call ahead or schedule online

  • On-site X-rays and lab tests

  • Wait-at-home option

  • Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day

  • Contacts you post-visit to see how you’re feeling

  • Spanish site translation

What We Don't Like
  • Only in seven states

  • No virtual appointments

  • Must call or visit in person to get pricing information

  • Does not accept Medicare

Most insurance is accepted at CareSpot/MedPost urgent care centers, including Medicaid but excluding Medicare. You can register online with the “save my spot” option and wait at home until your estimated appointment time.

CareSpot/MedPost does not offer virtual visits, but walk-ins are welcome. It has on-site X-ray and lab testing capabilities.

The website has an informative blog so you’ll have something to read while you wait for your appointment to start. There are 87 Locations across four states— California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida.

Best for Affordability : CVS MinuteClinic

CVS MinuteClinic

CVS MinuteClinic

Why We Chose It: MinuteClinics are widely available and offer transparent, reasonably priced services, plus two types of virtual visits.

What We Like
  • Virtual visits offered

  • Customer ratings posted for each location

  • Website available in Spanish

  • Detailed pricing online for 125 services

  • Presence in 32 states

  • Veterans receive special pricing

  • Accredited by the Joint Commission

What We Don't Like
  • May be staffed by a nurse practitioner rather than a medical doctor

  • Locations generally do not have X-ray equipment or labs on site

  • No extended hours

There are more than 1,200 MinuteClinics in 32 states plus the District of Columbia: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. MinuteClinic is accredited by the Joint Commission, an agency that evaluates and certifies healthcare organizations and programs in the United States.

The MinuteClinic website lets you search for clinics by ZIP code and displays the available appointment times for the clinic you select. Choosing a time slot is a simple process, and you follow that by entering your contact information. Hours vary by location, but most are open from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Walk-ins are also welcome.

Detailed price lists are also available on the website. “Minor Illnesses” like allergies, coughs and bronchitis, ear infections, or “Wellness and Physicals” (think asthma monitoring and diabetes treatment) all cost from $89 to $139 to treat. The most expensive treatments are for injections and vaccinations: an HPV inoculation is $250, for example, while a hepatitis A or B shot is $145. Medicare and Medicaid are accepted. You and/or your health insurance provider will be billed accordingly.

MinuteClinic also offers two kinds of virtual visits. An e-clinic visit, where health insurance is required, is available seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Prices vary based on your service and insurance coverage. E-Clinic visits are only available in the states listed above. Choose your state from the dropdown menu and sign into your MyChart account (if you need to create one, it's a quick process). Once you enter your information, a provider will contact you to set up a remote meeting with a clinical provider using the Cisco Webex video platform.

For people without health insurance, standard video visits are available 24/7 for adults and children over age 2 for diagnosis and treatment of most non-urgent illnesses or injuries. This service is available in every state except Alaska, Nevada, Montana, and North Carolina. Video visits are $59 each and must be paid at the time of the service.

Best for No Insurance : NextCare

NextCare

NextCare

Why We Chose It: NextCare offers two programs to help uninsured patients pay for services.

What We Like
  • Caters to patients without health insurance

  • On-site lab, X-ray machines

  • Curbside service

  • Pediatric urgent care

  • Website lists the number of patients ahead of you

  • Allows you to wait at home or your office after checking in

  • Some offer bilingual staff, or free interpreting service

  • Open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day of the year

What We Don't Like
  • Only in 11 states

NextCare has high customer ratings, a user-friendly website, and a wide range of urgent care services. It accepts most insurance providers.

What's more, NextCare offers two programs for people with no insurance or a gap in insurance: You can join the NextCare Advantage medical discount program for $39 per month (billed in three-month chunks), which allows you to visit NextCare as much as you need to for $39 per visit. If you don’t need urgent care frequently, Its ValueCare plan allows you to get urgent care treatment for a discount of as much as 50%.

To plan a visit, choose your state from the dropdown menu to see the locations available, the number of patients waiting at each location, and more. You can schedule your appointment on the same page and can include the reason for your visit and your insurance information.

NextCare Urgent Care operates more than 145 clinics in 11 states: Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, and Wyoming. The clinics operate under various names besides NextCare: Access Medical Centers, Central Texas Urgent Care, Impact Urgent Care, Michigan Urgent Care, Dr. J Express Care, Twin Fountains Medical Clinics, and PrimaCare Medical Centers.

Important

Freestanding emergency rooms that are separate from hospitals look like urgent care centers and are usually in the same places, like strip malls, so it can be difficult to tell the difference. They can end up costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars. In most states, urgent care centers by law cannot use the word “emergency” on any signage. The best way to tell if you are walking into a freestanding ER is if you see that word anywhere inside or outside of the building.

Best for Children : PM Pediatrics

PM Pediatrics

PM Pediatrics

Why We Chose It: Children are the sole focus at PM Pediatrics. From newborns up to teenagers and even adults aged 26 (the maximum age they can be covered under a parent's medical insurance), they will be seen by a pediatrics-trained physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner.

What We Like
  • Open until 10 p.m. every day of the year

  • Only pediatrics-trained healthcare staff

  • Website available in Spanish in some cities

What We Don't Like
  • Must visit the main page of the website to see a list of accepted insurance

  • Can be difficult to find an appointment slot online

  • Only available in 15 states

PM Pediatrics is open from noon to 10 p.m. and most insurance is accepted; you’ll need to pay for any copays (or your deductible, if it hasn’t been met) when you come in. If you don't have health insurance, PM Pediatrics offers a payment policy based on the level of care your child receives. For example, a visit for an earache would cost $129 if you don’t have insurance.

From the company's main website, you can search for the nearest location (as far as 200 miles from your ZIP code), and then create an online account. You can check in for your appointment online, but before doing so, you can view the estimated wait time for various time slots. PM Pediatrics offers on-site digital X-rays and labs, immediate-result diagnostic tests (strep, mononucleosis, influenza, etc.), and more.

PM Pediatrics provides initial doses of most medications before you leave, so you can start treating your child immediately.

PM Pediatrics has 62 clinics in 15 states and Washington D.C: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. PM Pediatrics has an average rating of 4.5 stars from SOLV. All of its clinics allow for walk-ins.

PM Pediatrics also offers virtual visits and telemedicine services. A copay will generally apply, based on the type of insurance and the services needed. If you are not covered by insurance, a telemedicine visit will cost $65.

Final Verdict

Proximity, wait time, availability, cost, and comfort are key when you need medical care quickly. Geography plays a role in our recommendations, as some highly-rated urgent care clinics are only located in a dozen or so states. Based on our research, we recommend you locate the top-rated urgent care clinic(s) in your area. Although there may be overlap, you should be able to use this review to find one that fits your needs.

Compare Providers

Best Urgent Care Companies
Name Category Notable Feature
AFC Urgent Care Best Overall In 27 states
CareSpot/MedPost Runner-Up, Best Overall Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, tiered self-pay rates
CVS MinuteClinic Best for Affordability Detailed pricing, 
32 states, Joint Commission accredited
NextCare Best for No Insurance Open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, 2 programs for uninsured patients
PM Pediatrics Best for Children Open noon to 10 p.m. daily and all staff is pediatrics trained

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Urgent Care?

An urgent care center is a medical facility that is not a traditional emergency room. Medical providers there treat mostly routine injuries or illnesses that can’t wait for your regular physician, but aren’t serious enough for the ER. Urgent care center wait times are usually much shorter than going to an ER, and a visit generally costs less.

When Should You Visit Urgent Care Instead of the ER?

There is a big difference between ER care and urgent care. If you need medical attention but it’s not a life-threatening illness or injury, skip the ER and head to urgent care. If you have a sprained ligament or a strained back, the flu, a possible broken bone, a minor cut, a bad sore throat, or a possible infection or skin rash, urgent care is the best choice.

Are There Ailments Urgent Care Doesn’t Treat?

You should go to the ER right away if your injury or illness is life-threatening. Reasons to go to the ER include chest pains, falling from seven feet up or higher, a bad burn, a severe allergic reaction, difficulty breathing, and an irregular heartbeat.

Is Urgent Care Covered by Insurance?

Most urgent care visits are covered by insurance, although a copay or deductible may apply. If your insurance is out-of-network, you may have to pay more. Urgent care centers will also see patients who don't have health insurance, and the cost for those services varies by location.

Does Medicare Cover Urgent Care?

Original Medicare covers urgent care visits. Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers urgently needed care to treat a sudden illness or injury if it isn’t a medical emergency requiring immediate medical attention to prevent a disability or death. You pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for your doctor or other healthcare provider's services, and the Part B deductible applies. 

How Much More Will an ER Visit Cost?

A 2019 study from UnitedHealth Group found that ER treatment costs were far higher than at an urgent care center: $2,032 vs. $193. Because of the overlap urgent care centers have with family medicine and emergency medicine, they are typically staffed accordingly with at least one medical physician or specialist, as well as a physician assistant, nurse practitioner, or radiologist who can see patients any time the facility is open.

How We Chose the Best Urgent Care Centers

We researched the top-rated urgent care centers in the United States, looking at several factors that are important to patients: location, hours, cost, reviews, and more. We also considered options that have a particular specialization, such as PM Pediatrics, which only sees children and adults up to the age of 26. Other centers, such as the vast network of CVC MinuteClinics, are widely available throughout the U.S.

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Article Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. UnitedHealth Group. The high cost of avoidable hospital emergency department visits. Updated July, 22 2019.

  2. Urgent Care Association. Industry news: urgent care industry grows to more than 9,000 centers nationwide. Updated February 24, 2020.

  3. SolvHealth. Urgent care center vs. emergency room.

  4. Medicare. Urgently needed care coverage.