10 smart moves to save on health care

Know when to choose an urgent care center

Not only is emergency room care expensive, your insurance company might charge you a hefty ER copay.

Many non-life-threatening emergencies, such as animal bites, minor lacerations and burns, and allergic reactions, can be treated at urgent care centers instead, where your costs could be similar to or slightly above what you’d pay for a doctor’s visit, saving you hundreds of dollars over the ER.

Urgent care centers not only charge less for procedures, they’re also less likely to order unnecessary tests.

Now is the time to see what urgent care centers near you are in your insurance network, what they treat and when they’re open.

Also check to see where your nearest in-network emergency room is and whether its doctors are in your network.

If you’re not sure how urgent your situation is, call your insurance company’s 24/7 nurse hotline for free advice. Check your insurance card for the phone number.