Choosing Health Care Options That Work For You

It's important to know where to go when you need medical care. Sometimes it's clear and at other times, it's not so clear. While the answer is not always simple, knowing your options and deciding where to go can mean the difference in costs and time. The main thing is to be prepared before you go and make sure ahead of time you will be covered by your plan's network.

Use the Health Care Options chart below to help you decide where to go based on your health care need:

Where to go when it's not an Emergency

Your Doctor

Your first choice for non-emergency care

  • $ Average Costs
  • 24 minutes* Average Wait Time
  • Examples of Health Issues
    • Cuts and scrapes
    • Fever, colds and flu
    • Minor burns
    • Ear or sinus pain
    • Sore throat
    • Stomach ache
    • Physicals
    • Minor allergic reactions

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24/7 Nurseline

Around the clock care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

  • ¢ Average Costs
  • 17 seconds* Average Wait Time
  • Examples of Health Issues

    Registered nurses are on call to answer your health questions, 24 hours a day, seven days a week

Virtual Visit

Have a live consultation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.1

  • $ Average Costs
  • 10 minutes Average Wait Time
  • Examples of Health Issues

    Non-emergency medical and behavioral health conditions like:

    • Allergies
    • Asthma
    • Cold/flu
    • Ear infections
    • Online counseling
    • Stress management

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Retail Clinics

For care when you can’t see your doctor

  • $ Average Costs
  • 15 minutes Average Wait Time
  • Examples of Health Issues
    • Infections
    • Minor injuries or pain
    • Flu Shots
    • Skin problems
    • Bronchitis
    • Cold and flu
    • Sore and strep throat
    • Allergies

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Where To Go When You Need Immediate Attention

Urgent Care

When it is not a true emergency but needs immediate attention

$$ Average Costs
11-20 minutes** Average Wait Time
Examples of Health Issues
  • Migraines or headaches
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Back pain
  • Cuts that need stitches
  • Sprains or strains
  • Animal bites

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Emergency Room

For life-threatening problems

$$$ Average Costs
4 hours Average Wait Time
Examples of Health Issues
  • Chest pain, stroke
  • Head or neck injuries
  • Heart attack
  • Fainting, dizziness, weakness
  • Problem breathing
  • Seizures
  • Sudden or severe pain
  • Severe vomiting, diarrhea
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Broken bones

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* Medical Practice Pulse Report 2009, Press Ganey Associates

** Urgent Care Benchmarking Study Results. Journal of Urgent Care Medicine. January 2012.

† Emergency Department Pulse Report 2010 Patient Perspectives on American Health Care. Press Ganey Associates. (Accessed February 2014).

What is an Emergency?

Knowing what is - and isn't - an emergency can help you expect the unexpected. Luckily, your health care coverage puts you in control of your care - and costs. See what is an emergency.

1 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.

2 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.