Colorado’s minimum wage ranks 19th highest in the country when including that of Washington, D.C., sitting at $8.31 per hours and $5.29 per hour for tipped employees (servers, bartenders, etc.). Although Colorado’s minimum wage is indexed to accomodate inflation, many argue that it still isn’t enough.
This becomes a huge problem when it comes to affording medical care. Whether it be an emergency situation or an annual visit to the doctor’s office, many Colorado residents struggle to have the funds for their co-pays. Because so many people neglect to see a primary care physician regularly, they turn to the emergency room when an urgent health problem emerges.
Urgent care facilities are local clinics that provide all of the same treatments as the ER for a fraction of the cost. One study shows that depending on where you seek medical attention and what insurance policy you have (if any), you could see an ER bill as high as $73,000. What’s different about urgent care is that they function more like a primary care physician, where copays are generally lower.
Colorado labor laws also do not require paid sick leaves or breaks that last longer than half an hour, meaning that it’s hard for a working adult to find time to see a primary care physician even if the can afford the trip.
Luckily, after hours urgent care services are in place for those who cannot access a doctor’s office during normal hours. Nearly half of adult ER patients who are not sick enough to be admitted to the hospital seek emergency care because their local doctors’ offices were closed.
After hours urgent care is available until at least 7 p.m. among most locations, and until 9 p.m. or later at two out of every five locations. Two thirds of urgent care locations are also available prior to 9 a.m., and many are available on weekends as well. Because of these services, those who are typically unable to obtain affordable, prompt medical care are able to see a physician in as little as 15 minutes, for conditions as severe as a broken bone, or for something as routine as a physical or flu shot.