How Much Does a Doctor Visit Cost With and Without Insurance? (2024)

Written by Nick Versaw

Updated December 7, 2021

How Much Does a Doctor Visit Cost With and Without Insurance? (2)Going to the doctor is never fun. But it can be even more stressful when you’re worried about your health and how you’ll pay for the visit at the same time.

Without insurance, medical care can get pricy fast. Where you live, what doctor you’re going to, and what tests you need will all figure into your doctor’s visit bill. In this article, we’ll break down those costs and give you some tips for saving money.

What Goes into the Cost of a Doctor’s Visit?

Geography is one of the biggest factors in the price of a doctor’s visit. Most medical facilities pass some of their overhead expenses onto their patients. If you live somewhere with a higher cost of living, like California or New York City, you’ll likely pay more for doctors’ visits. The practice has to pay more for utilities and rent, and those costs show up in your bill. For example, Mayo Clinic’s Patient Estimates tool quotes $846 for a 60-minute office visit in Jacksonville, Florida, but $605 for the same visit in Wisconsin.

Like the cost of living, supplies and equipment will also end up on your tab. Say you need a strep test, blood draw, or Pap smear. The supplies needed for the test plus the cost of the lab fees will all figure into the price.

Bills for the same exams and procedures can also vary depending on what kind of facility you’re going to. Smaller practices and public health centers are often a lot cheaper than university or private hospital systems. This is due in part to their buildings being smaller and their overhead fees being lower.

Price of Out-of-Pocket Doctors’ Visits

The cost of a doctor’s office visit also depends on what kind of doctor and the procedure you need to have done. For example, an in-office general wellness checkup will be cheaper than a specialist procedure. If you have an emergency, an urgent care center will be much more affordable than the emergency room.

Primary Care Physician — Physical Exam

Physicals usually include blood pressure readings, cholesterol measurements, and vaccines. Prostate exams for men and Pap smears and breast exams for women are also often included. Pediatric physicals focus on the growth milestones for your child’s age. Doctors check height, weight, sleep patterns, diet, and the vaccines required by public schools.

The range for a yearly physical can be anywhere from $100 to $250 or more without insurance. A CVS Minutecare Clinic may charge just $59 for a sports physical, but not all organizations will accept this as proof of physical health.

Primary Care Physician — Procedures

On top of the base cost for physical exams, you may have extra charges for any specific tests or procedures you need. According to the Cardiometabolic Health blog, the most common procedures in primary care medicine include bloodwork, electrocardiograms, and vaccines/injections.

Bloodwork is one of the biggest cost wild cards. Certain tests can run you from as little as $10 to as much as $10,000. Large national labs like Labcorp offer pricing on their website, so you know what to expect going in. For example, Labcorp’s General Health Blood Test, which includes a metabolic panel, complete blood count (CBC), and urinalysis, costs $78.

Electrocardiograms or EKGs check your heart health and can find cardiac issues. This quick procedure involves monitoring your heartbeat through electrodes placed on your skin. While it’s a painless and accurate way to detect heart conditions, the costs can add up without insurance. Expect to pay as little as $410 or as much as $1700 for this procedure, depending on local prices.

Vaccines are often required before sending your kids to school. The CDC publishes a vaccination price list annually to give you an idea of what to expect. For example, they quote $19-$132 for DTaP, $21 for Hepatitis A, and $13-$65 for Hepatitis B. The COVID-19 vaccine, however, is free of cost, regardless of insurance status.

Urgent Care Visit

If you have an emergency but are stable, urgent care is much cheaper than the emergency room. According to Scripps, most urgent care centers and walk-in clinics can at least treat dehydration, cuts or simple fractures, fever, flu, strep, and UTIs. Note that if you have chest pain, a serious injury, seizures, a stroke, or pregnancy complications, you should go straight to the ER.

For a base exam at an urgent care facility, expect to pay between $100-$150. That price will go up depending on what else you need. For example, Advanced Urgent Care in Denver quotes $80 for an X-Ray, $50 for an EKG, $135 for stitches, and $5 for a urinalysis. In comparison, expect to pay $1,000-$1,300 for the same procedures in the emergency room.

How to Lower Your Out-of-Pocket Medical Costs

How Much Does a Doctor Visit Cost With and Without Insurance? (3)

Healthcare expenses may seem overwhelming without insurance. Luckily, there are many resources available to help you cover the costs.

Free & Low-Cost Immunization and Wellness Clinics

For standard vaccines and checkups, look for local free or low-cost clinics. Check out The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics’ search tool to find a location near you. Your city’s public health department should also offer free or low-cost vaccines and basic medical care services.

Certain large vaccine manufacturers also offer vaccine programs. For example, Merck’s patient assistance program offers 37 vaccines and medicines free to eligible patients. The program includes albuterol inhalers and vaccines for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, MMR, and HPV.

Cash Negotiations

Most health systems offer lower rates for patients paying cash. Some even have free programs for low-income families. For example, Heritage UPC in North Carolina has a yearly membership for low-cost preventative care. In Northern California, the Sutter Health medical system offers full coverage for patients earning 400% or less of the Federal Poverty Income Guideline.

As of January 1, 2021, all hospitals in the United States now have to follow the Hospital Price Transparency Rule. That means they have to list procedure prices clearly on their website. You can also call medical billing before your appointment to discuss cash pay options.

Federal Medical Payment Support

If all else fails, there are federal programs to help you cover the cost of medical bills.

Organizations like The United Way and United for Alice offer grants for ALICE (asset-limited, income-constrained, employed) patients. These are people living above the poverty level, making them ineligible for other government programs but below the basic cost-of-living threshold.

Medicaid is available for children, pregnant women, and adults under a certain income threshold. If your income is too high to qualify for Medicaid but you can’t afford private insurance for your children, you may be eligible for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to cover your children’s medical care.

Use Compare.com for the Best Doctors’ Visit Prices

Navigating bills for a doctor’s visit can feel overwhelming, but Compare.com is here to help. With our price comparison tool, you can search all clinic and doctors’ office prices in your area. Compare makes sure you’re prepared for the cost of your checkup long before you schedule your appointment.

Start Comparing

How Much Does a Doctor Visit Cost With and Without Insurance? (4)

Nick Versaw Managing Editor

How Much Does a Doctor Visit Cost With and Without Insurance? (5)

Nick Versaw leads Compare.com's editorial department, where he and his team specialize in crafting helpful, easy-to-understand content about car insurance and other related topics. With nearly a decade of experience writing and editing insurance and personal finance articles, his work has helped readers discover substantial savings on necessary expenses, including insurance, transportation, health care, and more.

As an award-winning writer, Nick has seen his work published in countless renowned publications, such as the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and U.S. News & World Report. He graduated with Latin honors from Virginia Commonwealth University, where he earned his Bachelor's Degree in Digital Journalism.

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How Much Does a Doctor Visit Cost With and Without Insurance? (2024)

FAQs

How Much Does a Doctor Visit Cost With and Without Insurance? ›

The cost of a doctor's visit depends on the type of insurance you have. If you do not have insurance, the cost of a doctor's visit is typically between $300 and $600, but prices can vary depending on several factors such as lab tests, where you seek care, and procedures done at the visit.

How much does it cost to see a doctor in the USA without insurance? ›

Bottom Line. The cost of a primary care visit when paying out of pocket averages $171, but can range between $75 to nearly $300 for a basic exam without insurance. The cost of primary care can be upwards of $600 depending on the lab tests and immunizations being done at the time of care.

Can you go to DR without insurance? ›

Walk-in clinics are also available for more routine issues, and they can take cash payments if you do not have insurance. You can see a doctor at a walk-in clinic for minor issues and be billed for the visit.

Where is the cheapest place to see a doctor? ›

Community health centers and walk-in clinics tend to offer more affordable healthcare than visiting a direct primary care doctor. These options are sometimes even free, especially when shopping for preventive screenings or important vaccinations.

Why are doctor visits so expensive? ›

1. Medical providers are paid for quantity, not quality. Most health insurance companies—including Medicare—pay doctors, hospitals, and other medical providers under a fee-for-service system that reimburses each test, procedure, or office visit. That means the more services they provide, the more money they receive.

How can I get medical treatment in USA without insurance? ›

If you can't afford any health plan and don't qualify for coverage through Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), you can get low-cost health care at a nearby community health center. How much you pay depends on your income. Community health centers are located in both urban and rural areas.

How much does the average American pay for health insurance? ›

Average annual health insurance premiums in 2023 are $8,435 for single coverage and $23,968 for family coverage. These average premiums each increased 7% in 2023. The average family premium has increased 22% since 2018 and 47% since 2013.

Is emergency care free in the USA? ›

You'll be charged afterwards, whether you can pay or not. The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), a federal law passed in 1986, requires anyone coming to a hospital emergency room to be stabilized and treated, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.

How does medical verify income? ›

Pay stub must include: Name of person must be on stub or other identifying information to link to the person (i.e., SSN). Pay stub must be issued within the last 45 days showing the gross amount (include tips, overtime, commission and bonus). A pay stub or check indicating only net amount is not acceptable.

What happens if a tourist gets sick in the USA without insurance? ›

Seek Emergency Care When Necessary

In life-threatening medical situations, don't hesitate to call 9-1-1 or visit the nearest emergency room. Medical providers are required by law to stabilize patients in emergency situations regardless of their insurance status.

What doctors charge the most? ›

Cardiac surgeons are the physician specialty with the highest average charges, according to a November report from Definitive Healthcare. The organization analyzed claims filed from January to October 2023. Here are the 25 medical specialties that charge the most, followed by their average charge per provider.

How many people don't go to the doctor due to cost? ›

In 2022, 28% of American adults skipped some form of medical treatment because of cost, according to the Federal Reserve.

How much does a doctor's visit cost in the US? ›

Those without insurance often must make choices between getting healthcare or paying bills. The cost of a doctor visit is hard to quantify because there are many factors that go into what the final bill is. The average cost of a doctor visit, not including procedures or tests, range from $80-$170 across the U.S.

What happens if you can't afford healthcare in America? ›

In a worst-case scenario, you could be sued and have your wages garnished. You might even be forced into bankruptcy. The Commonwealth Fund's 2023 Health Care Affordability Survey found that 38% of people surveyed said they delayed or skipped needed healthcare or prescription drugs because they couldn't afford it.

Is healthcare free for doctors in USA? ›

There used to be a concept known as 'professional courtesy' where professional fees might be waved, but current insurance and federal rules make this practice impossible. So, yes, physicians need insurance just like everyone else.

How much do US citizens pay for healthcare? ›

The United States has one of the highest costs of healthcare in the world. In 2022, U.S. healthcare spending reached $4.5 trillion, which averages to $13,493 per person. By comparison, the average cost of healthcare per person in other wealthy countries is less than half as much.

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