My Coverage Explained

High Level Care for High Level Needs—2 Choices for Immediate Care

Last time, we shared an overview of the choices you have for small but urgent matters, where you can find Paths 1, 2 and 3.   Now let’s talk about being ready, just in case something more serious comes your way.

Path 4: Stand-Alone ER
The differences between a stand-alone ER and an urgent care center aren’t always very clear.  Just remember this: If the word EMERGENCY is part of the facility name, chances are you’re at a stand-alone ER. They’re separate from a hospital but are equipped and operate the same as an ER, and are staffed by board certified ER doctors. They treat many life-threatening or disabling conditions. Costs may be higher than other options, just as if you went to the ER at a hospital. Based on the medical condition, you could be transferred to a hospital ER.

Path 5: Hospital ER
We know it by instinct – Call 911 if you have an emergency or go to your nearest hospital emergency room! If it’s pretty clear that a medical condition is life threatening, then you have no choice.  Some examples that require emergency medical care include having chest pain or signs of a heart attack or stroke, a deep cut or wound that won’t stop bleeding, a severe burn or serious head, neck or back injury. All these and other serious conditions should always be treated at the nearest hospital emergency room. Out-of-pocket costs are higher, and wait times can average 4 hours. Those and other reasons are why ER visits should be reserved for true emergencies.

Make sure you have your insurance card and form of ID for the patient with you, name of family doctor and form of payment if you have it. It’s always scary to have a reason for an emergency room visit.  Life and death situations don’t come often, but if you’re ever in the position to need an emergency room, hopefully, now you’re prepared. If you have questions on what your BCBSIL health plan covers, call the number on the back of your identification card.

Most recent update: 1/24/2018


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