by Aidan Kang, CFA
Senior Writer
UPDATED: October 27, 2021

If you’re struggling with finances, you may not have insurance to cover your doctor’s visit. 

But before you put off your much-needed consultation, find out how much a doctor visit will cost you if you’re paying out-of-pocket.

How much will it cost if you need to go to a doctor but don’t have insurance or money?

Are there any medical care facilities that provide medical care without insurance?

Let’s dive deep into that.

How Much Does an Average Doctor Visit Costs?

The cost of urgent care or walk-in visits ranges from around $100 to $650-plus.

The average cost of urgent care/walk-in visits is significantly lower than the average cost of a visit to the emergency room. 

A hospital emergency room charges more because of the overhead costs that you won’t find in an urgent care center or walk-in clinics, such as a team of ER nurses and doctors, as well as access to x-ray, diagnostic lab, and other sophisticated equipment. 

Below is an infographic comparing the costs of urgent care centers and emergency rooms for different types of illnesses.

Cost Difference

Emergency Rooms VS. Urgent Care Centers

Type of IllnessEmergency Room CostUrgent Care Cost
Acute Bronchitis$595$127
Sore Throat$525$94
Pink Eye$370$102
Strep Throat$531$111
Upper Respiratory Infection$486 $111
Urinary Tract Infection$665$112


Can You See a Doctor Without Insurance?

Don’t let being uninsured prevent you from going to the doctor. Visit a doctor if you’re having health problems. You can still see one even if you’re uninsured.

The cost of a clinic visit varies depending on various factors like the medical issue you have, the health care provider you’re seeing, and your location. 

The average cost of an urgent care visit is between $150 and $200. If you have insurance, though, you’d only have to spend on co-pays, which range from $15 to $50.

You’ll find different health care options for people like you who aren’t insured. Walk-in clinics, community health clinics, and direct care providers are the best places to start.

Here’s an overview of the average doctor’s visit costs for each option. 

Health Care FacilityAverage Cost of Doctor’s Visit
Community ClinicsFree or based on the patient’s ability to pay
Concierge Clinics$30 to $125
Walk-in Clinics$50 – $150
Hospital Emergency RoomAs much as $2,200
Urgent Care Centers$150 – $200

Community Clinics

You may look for community clinics in your area. They’re funded by the government and offer low-cost or free health care services.

They provide reproductive health care, such as STD testing and mental health care for anxiety and depression.

Concierge Clinics

Concierge Clinics or direct care providers offer healthcare services to people who are uninsured. They’re also known as cash-only clinics. 

Do your research first and ask for their average rates.

Walk-in Clinics

If you don’t have insurance but have cash, you can go to a walk-in clinic. They offer routine checkups and treatment for minor medical issues. 

The cost of a doctor’s visit varies among walk-in clinics. It’s better to call them first and ask about their rates. 

Some walk-in clinics may even help you apply for affordable low-cost health insurance, such as Medicaid.

Hospital Emergency Room

The hospital emergency room is the place to be if you have a medical emergency. You can go to the ER or call 911 to have someone pick you up at your location and bring you to the ER.

Emergency medical providers can’t refuse to give the healthcare service you need even if you don’t have insurance. 

However, you need to let the ER staff know that you have no health insurance and would like to know if you can arrange repayment terms with their billing department.

Only go to the emergency room if you need emergency care. The costs of the services may be expensive, so you should consider other options if you have non-emergency health concerns.

Urgent Care Centers

Urgent care centers cater to health emergencies and other time-sensitive medical needs. They accept direct payments and the costs of their services are often cheaper than a hospital visit.

You look for an urgent care center if you’re uninsured and facing serious medical concerns, such as wounds that need stitching, sprains, and broken bones. It’s just like a walk-in clinic because you don’t need to make an appointment.

But it’s a bit more expensive because they offer more complex medical care than walk-in clinics. Even so, it’s an excellent option if you don’t have health insurance and need urgent medical care.

What Are the Factors that Affect Doctor Visit Costs?

How much you’ll pay for a doctor visit varies depending on several factors, such as the following:

  • Location – The cost of doctor visits varies depending on the city and state where you’re located.
  • Treatment – The cost of your doctor visit will be affected by the prescription medications or other treatments you need for your medical condition  
  • Tests – The doctor may order additional tests to better diagnose your condition. When this happens, you can expect to pay more for your doctor’s visit.
  • Insurance – If you don’t have insurance, you may call your primary care provider first to determine how much they charge for a doctor visit. Your out-of-pocket expenses will be higher if you’re not insured than if you have health coverage.

How to Get a Lower Price on Medical Bills?

You can minimize the costs of doctor visits and medical bills even without health insurance by taking a few steps.

Be Honest

Tell the medical staff or the doctor that you have no medical insurance. Ask if they offer discounts, payment plans, or other promos that you may be eligible for.

Ask About a Sliding Scale

If you’re not insured, you can ask the medical care facility if it offers sliding scale fees, which helps patients with low-income. Simply put, sliding scale fees in the healthcare industry are variable costs for medical services, products, and taxes based on the patient’s financial capability.

In case the facility doesn’t offer a sliding scale, ask how much a doctor visit costs so that you’ll have an idea if it’s within your budget.

Use Generic Medications

Generic medications are effective just like their branded counterparts. If your doctor prescribes you drugs, be sure to ask if you can use the generic version. 

Inquire about charity care options that may help cut back on the costs of your doctor’s visit. In some cases, paying cash may help you save as much as 90% on medical costs.

Ask for Free Samples

Sometimes, doctors give out free samples to their patients, especially those who are financially unstable. These are free samples from pharmaceutical companies that doctors receive from medical representatives and can dispense to their patients if they see fit.

You may ask your doctor if they can give you free samples of medicines that you can’t afford or have to spend a lot of cash to buy. 

Note, however, that this may not fully cover your prescription. Doctors are instructed to give out only “enough” of those free samples (and that’s subjective), then they’ll write a prescription to be filled.

For example, if your prescription needs to be taken for a month, your doctor may only give you a week’s worth of free samples. Then you’ll have to buy the rest of the prescriptions from the drug stores.

Inquire About Installments

Don’t hesitate to ask if the medical facility offers installment plans, where you pay for the healthcare services in parts. It’s one of the most common options if you’re unable to settle your medical bill in a single payment. 

Johns Hopkins Hospital, for example, provides a payment plan or financial assistance. 

Your request may be granted if you can convince them that you’re uninsured but can pay them back for the treatment in the next few months.

How much you need to pay and how long you need to settle your debt will depend on the terms that you and your medical provider have agreed on. 

Negotiate Medical Bills

Just like asking about installment plans, you should try to negotiate your medical bills. You can do this before or after your doctor’s visit.

The billing people are used to talking to patients who have billing problems. Ask if there’s any way you can lower your medical bills, perhaps asking for some discounts if you qualify for financial assistance or charity care. 

Watch Out for Medical Errors

Mistakes happen all the time even in the medical industry. Don’t forget to double-check your medical bills to make sure you’re not billed twice or charged for healthcare services you didn’t receive.

What Are Health Savings Accounts?

Even if you don’t have insurance, you can still prepare for medical emergencies. Consider depositing money into a health savings account.

If you have a job, ask your employer if they offer a health saving account that you can contribute to. It will help you cover some of your medical expenses later on. 

Health savings accounts are tax-free. If you have one, you can save as much as 30% on your medical costs and even up to 60% if your employer offers a matching contribution.

Is Health Insurance Worth Getting?

Getting health insurance coverage is a significant investment that may seem costly to some, that’s why they prefer to go without coverage.

But if you value your health and if you don’t want to end up paying a lot on your medical costs later on, then you should get insured. It will help cover your medical expenses if you have health emergencies, an accident, serious illness, or an ongoing health problem.