Because Your Health Counts, Know Where to Go When Minutes Count, or Anytime

Because Your Health Counts, Know Where to Go When Minutes Count, or Anytime

It’s important to know where to go when you need care.

Sometimes the choice is clear. If you’re having signs of a heart attack or stroke, it’s best to go to an emergency room (ER). But what if you have a sore throat? Or an upset stomach after eating sushi? The choice may not be so clear.

And that’s the rub: Knowing where to go or who to call can make a big difference in cost and time – even when it’s not an emergency.

If you aren’t having an emergency, knowing where to go for medical care may save you on cost and time. Fortunately, you have good choices for non-emergency care.

Instead of the ER, keep these care options in mind:

24/7 Bilingual Nurseline

Bilingual English- and Spanish-speaking registered nurses are on call to answer your questions or concerns.1

  • Nurses are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • It’s easy to connect, just call 800-299-0274
Virtual Visits

You may be able to visit with a doctor by phone, online video chat or via mobile app for non-emergency medical and behavioral health concerns.2,3

  • Virtual visits can happen anytime night or day, 7 days a week
  • They can be a good option when you have allergies, a cold or flu, or suffer from depression
Doctor's Office

Talk to the person who knows you and your medical history.

  • Your doctor can help with fevers, colds, the flu, sore throats and stomachache
  • Keep in mind, your doctor’s office hours may vary
Retail Clinic

Many grocery stores, pharmacies and “big box” chains have a medical care clinic located inside. They can be good for non-emergency care when you can’t see a doctor.4

  • Offer weekend and evening hours, accept walk-ins and can have short wait times
  • Can be good for minor injuries, pain, sore throat, strep and other non-emergencies
Urgent Care

Your neighborhood urgent care is a good option when a health issue needs immediate attention, but isn’t an emergency. Be careful to choose and Urgent Care center and not a standalone ER. If the building has “Emergency” listed on its exterior, it is an ER. It may not be covered by your health plan and cost you a lot more out of pocket.

  • Urgent Care offers evening, weekend and holiday hours
  • Treat cuts that need stitches, migraines and severe headaches, back pain, sprains and strains, animal bites, rashes and more
Emergency Room

Go to the ER if you have life-threatening symptoms. Any time you have chest pains or heart problems, trouble breathing, heavy bleeding, broken bones or sudden or severe pain, seek help right away.

  • Help is available 24 hours, 7 days a week
  • With a staff of medical experts, an ER is best equipped to care for you in an emergency

Log in to our Provider Finder® tool to find a doctor's office, retail health clinic, urgent care center or hospital ER in your plan's provider network.

Remember, when you visit in-network providers, you may pay less for care. That’s why it’s good to learn about your choices now. It will help you be prepared the next time you need care. 

1 The 24/7 Bilingual Nurseline may not be available with all plans. Check your benefits booklet for details.
2 Internet/Wi-Fi connection is needed for computer access. Data charges may apply. Check your cellular data or internet service provider’s plan for details. Non-emergency medical service in Idaho, Montana and New Mexico is limited to interactive audio/video (video only), along with the ability to prescribe. Non-emergency medical service in Arkansas is limited to interactive audio/video (video only) for initial consultation, along with the ability to prescribe. Behavioral Health service is limited to interactive audio/video (video only), along with the ability to prescribe in all states. Service availability depends on location at the time of consultation.
3 Virtual Visits, Powered by MDLIVE may not be available on all plans. Virtual Visits are subject to the terms and conditions of your benefit plan, including benefits, limitations, and exclusions. MDLIVE operates subject to state regulations and may not be available in certain states. MDLIVE is not an insurance product nor a prescription fulfillment warehouse. MDLIVE does not guarantee that a prescription will be written. MDLIVE does not prescribe DEA-controlled substances, non-therapeutic drugs and certain other drugs that may be harmful because of their potential for abuse. MDLIVE physicians reserve the right to deny care for potential misuse of services.
MDLIVE operates and administers the virtual visit program and is solely responsible for its operations and that of its contracted providers. MDLIVE and the MDLIVE logo are registered trademarks of MDLIVE, Inc. and may not be used without written permission.
Blue Cross®, Blue Shield® and the Cross and Shield symbols are registered service marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans.
Visiting a Retail Clinic may not be covered with all plans. Check your benefits booklet for details.

Originally published 4/5/2017; Revised 2019, 2022