As health-care costs shift more toward patients, both consumers and insurance companies are looking for ways to save. Historically, ERs have been big wallet-emptiers because patients are paying for 24-hour access and state-of-the-art technology. That’s where urgent care—which has seen growing popularity among insurers and therefore patients—enters the picture. In this era of soaring costs, urgent cares provide a lower-priced option while maintaining quality. But is it a wise alternative? In terms of cost and access, “it’s filling a bit of a niche,” says Dr. John Santos, medical director of Children’s Hospital Colorado Urgent Care, Uptown Denver. “The key is making sure it’s providing appropriate care as well.”

This article was originally published in 5280 Health 2015.

Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer

Daliah Singer is an award-winning writer and editor based in Denver. You can find more of her work at daliahsinger.com.