Urgent care cost on the rise

NC_urgentcare0627_1500x845(CNBC) — The latest research shows that doctor’s office visits are down and trips to urgent care are on the rise.

The clinics are much cheaper than emergency room visits, and very convenient.

“I can just walk into an urgent care, it’s covered by my insurance, I don’t even have a co-pay, so it’s really convenient,” Lynda Stratford says.

In the last decade large employers have seen spending on doctor’s office visits decrease 17 percent while urgent care spending for routine ailments is up about 20-percent, making up a bigger part of employers’ total medical costs.

“Ultimately we think it might be a good thing. So, while you have people better care of themselves for routine care, they may not have more catastrophic care down the road. But this year, it’s an inflator,” Barbara Gniewek, a PwC partner says.

PwC says employers are also seeing more worker demand for mental health services, which could drive costs next year. But overall, medical cost growth is expected to be at 6.5 percent with no blockbuster high-cost drugs like Sovaldi coming to market in 2017.

To rein in spending, more large employers are looking at plans with narrower networks and higher-deductibles.

Read more: http://cnb.cx/295hpWj

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