What do you do when you need care right away,
but it's not an emergency?

The last place anyone wants to sit and wait hour after hour is the emergency room (ER). And it can cost you more than you might need to pay if you could get care from somewhere else quickly.

You should know you have more options than just the ER.

First call your primary care doctor

He or she is the doctor you see for most care. When you call this doctor, he or she will tell you if you should make an appointment with the doctor or go to the ER. Your doctor might even suggest you go to a retail health clinic or urgent care. But when you can't see your doctor or if your doctor's office is closed, you can choose an option below. It often takes less time than the ER and costs about the same as a doctor visit. Plus, most are open weeknights and weekends.

Choose a care option that could save time and money

Below are other options you can check out. Not all types of care and facilities are available in all areas.

Retail health clinic: This is a clinic staffed by health care experts who give basic health care services to "walk-in" patients. Most often it is in a major pharmacy or retail store.

Walk-in doctor's office: This doctor's office doesn’t require you to be an existing patient or have an appointment. These handle mostly routine care and common family illnesses.

Urgent care center: This is a group of doctors who treat conditions that should be looked at right away but aren't as bad as emergencies. These can often do X-rays, lab tests and stitches.

Pick a care facility and call before you go

Ask:

  • What are your hours?
  • Tell them what has happened (for example, "I have a cut" or "I twisted my ankle.") Then ask, do you have services that I need?
  • What age range do you treat?
  • Are you a provider that is part of my health plan network?

Average copay

$150 - $300 * $35 - $55*
ER visit Retail health clinic, Walk-in doctor's office, Urgent care center

* Average health plan copays, your actual cost may vary depending on your plan. Refer to your benefits for your exact cost. For many members, deductibles and coinsurance may apply, which can make an even greater difference in the cost between an emergency room and alternate site of care.

When to use the ER

Always call 911 or go to the ER if you think you could put your health at serious risk by delaying care.

This information has been provided by Anthem

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