Quote from lostdruid
No offense, but spoken like someone who has health insurance.
Sadly, many are without health insurance. Even at the urgent care clinics they require payment for services at the time of the visit. Not everyone can afford that. Now that I have health insurance, I would not go to the ER with such a concern, but without it...you betcha. There are no other options. Have you ever tried making an appointment with a doctor without insurance? It's a pretty quick call and ends with "Sorry, unless you pay in advance we can't see you".
The Urgent Cares in my area, the whole reason I go, is when I tell them I don't have insurance, they only charge me about $60 and sometimes give me sample meds so I don't have to get a prescription filled.
I was very, very ill in October...I was in early stages of pneumonia, and the Urgent Care doctor wanted to put me into the hospital, and I started crying and I told him I didn't have insurance....he gave me a breathing treatment for an hour, didn't charge me for it...and could give me all of the meds (steriods, etc) but one for free...but made me PROMISE to come back in two days so he could listen to my lungs again...no charge.
Then I was crying because I was so grateful (I told him I had quit work to try to go to nursing school), he just gave me a casual hug and said, "Hey, what do you think we all did while in med school? You can pay me back by being a great nurse."
I had never been so incredibly humbled.