Choosing the right care

Different health problems require different levels of care. This guide can help you make the right decisions about where to receive treatment so you can get prompt attention, reduce wait times, and even save money.

Your choice on where to get care can save you money.

Copays and deductibles may apply to health care services you receive. Generally, costs are lowest for Virtual Care and office visits and are highest for emergency room care. Refer to your Certificate of Coverage for cost share details.

Family doctor

Call your doctor first when you are sick or injured and it is not an urgent matter.

Your doctor:

  • has an existing relationship with you and is familiar with your medical history
  • can quickly diagnose and start treatment
  • can help you decide what steps to take if you need to see a specialist or visit a hospital

Urgent care centers

If you believe you should have same-day care and you can’t see your doctor, an urgent care center may be a good option. No appointments are necessary at an urgent care center, and some have on-site pharmacies. Many urgent care centers can take X-rays and even stitch wounds.

Urgent care centers are good for minor injuries such as:

  • colds and flu
  • earaches
  • minor burns
  • minor skin rashes
  • small cuts
  • sprains and strains

Virtual Care

Most plans1 include Virtual Care doctor visits by live video using a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Video appointments are convenient when:

  • your doctor’s office is closed
  • you feel too sick to leave the house
  • you become sick while traveling
  • you need to see a doctor, but can’t find the time

You can see a doctor for these common conditions:

  • bronchitis
  • sinus infection
  • sore throat
  • bladder infection
  • urinary tract infection
  • abdominal pain
  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • pink eye
  • painful urination
  • influenza
  • respiratory infection
  • headache
  • strep throat

Emergency room (ER)

You should only use the ER for serious problems that require immediate attention. If a problem is serious, you should call 911 or go straight to an emergency room.

The following are examples of problems where the ER usually is the right choice:

  • chest pain
  • breathing trouble
  • severe dizziness or confusion
  • seizures
  • heavy bleeding
  • large open wounds
  • severe vomiting
  • poisoning

Healthwise® Knowledgebase symptom checker

Our free library of health topics and interactive tools can help you determine when and where to seek care. Type a word or short phrase into the search box to find information about a specific condition or health-related question. To use the symptom checker, click on Check Your Symptoms.

We can help you decide where to get care

Nurse Line 800.452.2583 (TTY: 800.855.2880) Call 24/7 to speak with a registered nurse for advice on symptoms, where to get care, and general health concerns.

1The Virtual Care benefit is not available on CareConnect plans, and Individual HMO plans.