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Emergency Care vs. Urgent Care

Emergency Care

Emergency rooms (ER) everywhere are experiencing overcrowding, primarily due to visits for conditions that may be better treated by primary care physicians or an urgent care center. This can help them save money on out-of-pocket costs and avoid longer waits to obtaining care.

An emergency is defined as a medical condition that could threaten life, limb, or eyesight without immediate treatment. Examples or emergencies include:

  • loss of limb
  • loss of sight
  • loss of life
  • chest pain
  • severe, persistent pain
  • health danger to an unborn child
  • at immediate risk of serious harm to self or others as a result of a mental disorder

Urgent Care

Urgent care *currently closed is considered an illness or injury that won’t cause further disability or death if not treated immediately, but needs medical attention to keep it from evolving into a greater threat. Examples of urgent care include:

  • minor lacerations
  • urinary tract infections
  • earaches
  • migraine headaches
  • sprains
  • rising fever

The difference in patient cost could be hundreds of dollars for even the most common ailments. To find an urgent care provider, please see the list of urgent care facilities or to find a SHIP in-network provider contact AmeriBen at (208) 955-1556 or the Health Insurance and Billing Office at or (208) 426-2158.