Emergency Room Alternatives
Save Time and Money: Alternatives to the Emergency Room
We're here to help you make better-informed decisions about getting the care you need. Depending on the severity of your medical concern, the emergency room isn't always your best option. Nearby retail clinics1 and urgent care centers2 can treat many conditions in less time for less money. See a list of options and how much you can save. Then talk to your primary care provider about your best choice for after-hours or urgent care centers.
Based on your symptoms, use the chart below to guide you.
Blue Care LineSM
Limited Service Clinics
Urgent Care Centers
|Description||Speak with a nurse about your treatment options. No waiting in line.||Use these facilities — for example, CVS Minute Clinic®' — for treatment of non-urgent and minor concerns without an appointment or referral.||Using your smartphone, computer, or tablet, you can access Telehealth services to speak with a doctor or therapist anytime you need care including after business hours and on weekends.||Use these facilities, which include CareWell®'' Urgent Care, Doctors Express,®' and Health Express, for treatment of serious, but non-life threatening, conditions.|
|Cost||No Cost||Low Cost||Low Cost||Moderate Cost|
|Availability||24/7||Often open 7 days a week with evening hours||-24/7 for medical care||Often open 7 days a week with evening hours|
|Symptom or Service|
Emergency Room — Highest Cost
If you experience any of the following symptoms, go to the nearest hospital or call 911.
- Heart attack ( sudden or severe chest pain)
- Stroke (numbness in face, arm, or leg on one side; difficulty talking; loss of vision)
- Severe shortness of breath
- High fever with stiff neck
- Coughing up or vomiting blood
- Cut or wound that won't stop bleeding
- Possible broken bone
- Stab wound
- Sudden or severe abdominal pain
- Trauma to the head
- Suicidal feelings
Use our Find a Doctor & Estimate Costs tool to locate a retail clinic1 or urgent care center2 near you.
Go to Find a Doctor & Estimate Costs. Your plan name and network will display automatically. With clear menus and enhanced search features, finding the information you need is easy. You can type the doctor's name or speciality in the search field, or use the easy-to-follow guided search options.
Verify that your health plan covers care at the location you choose.
NOTE: Outside of Massachusetts, services will only be covered if the Blue Cross plan in that state has a contract with the retail clinic or urgent care center.
Also, check Find a Doctor & Estimate Costs regularly, as new retail clinics and urgent care centers are added all the time.
Teleheallth: A Convenient New Benefit
Using your computer, smartphone, or tablet, you can access Telehealth video visits to speak with a doctor anytime you need care, including after business hours and on weekends.
- Your Telehealth doctor can review your medical and behavioral health history, answer questions, and diagnose, treat, and prescribe medication.
- Check our Find a Doctor and Estimate Costs tool to find a doctor who offers Telehealth services.
- To see if you have Telehealth coverage, log into MyBlue or call Member Service at the number on your ID card for more information.
Download the app to get started.
1. Example: CVS Minute Clinic®'
2. Examples: CareWell®''Urgent Care, Doctors Express,®' and Health Express.
CareWell Urgent Care is an urgent care center accredited by the Urgent Care Association of America.