You’re sitting around the campfire with your family, roasting marshmallows for s’mores, when your youngest daughter accidentally burns herself. It appears to be minor, but you want to get her relief — and fast. The only problem: Your regular doctor’s office isn’t open at this time of night.
Think your only option is the emergency room? Think again.
Know your options for care
Millions of Americans use emergency rooms for routine medical care, like treatment for strep throat, ankle sprains and more. Not only do they face long wait times for services, they also pay around 10 times more than they would have in a regular doctor’s office — for the same treatment. While it's important to seek emergency care for conditions like chest pain, loss of consciousness or severe, uncontrolled bleeding, you should know your options for care when deciding where to go.
Take a look at the easy-to-follow graphic below. This will help you know where to go for care, depending on your situation.
There are many places to go for care. Even though you might receive similar treatment at each location, your out-of-pocket costs will vary. Here's an easy way to determine what's best for you, depending on your situation. Consider the pharmacy for pain relief for minor burns, scrapes and other minor injuries. Here you can look for over-the-counter ointments, bandages and other first-aid supplies at a relatively low cost. It may cost you a little more, but you may need to go to your personal doctor's office. After all, they know you best. If your doctor is out, you can ask to see another doctor at that office. For a similar out-of-pocket cost as seeing your personal doctor, you can see and talk with a doctor 24/7 via your smartphone with the Doctor On Demand app. Your virtual doctor can treat most common medical conditions and even prescribe medication, so it may be a great alternative to a walk-in clinic. Another option if you can't wait for an appointment, or if your doctor's office isn't open, seek care at a walk-in clinic. You may pay more than your personal doctor's office, but you can receive similar care. The emergency room is a more expensive option and should be reserved for life-threatening conditions, or any concern where you feel a delay in care (even if it's only a few hours) could negatively impact your health. Still not sure where to go? Call BeWell 24/7 at Eight, Four, Four, Eight, Four, Be Well day or night to receive an evaluation based on your symptoms and recommendations for where to go for care.
See a doctor within minutes
Need to get an expert opinion and want to do it from the comfort and convenience of your own home? Download the Doctor On Demand External SiteTM app for a virtual visit option. With the app, you can see and talk with a board-certified doctor via your smartphone.
A virtual visit through Doctor On Demand is a benefit covered by some Wellmark plans, and the out-of-pocket cost is generally similar to an office visit. If your plan doesn't cover Doctor On Demand, it is still an affordable option that can save you time and a visit to the doctor's office.
Away from home? You're still covered.
Figuring out where to go for care when you’re traveling or in an unfamiliar area can be stressful. Rest assured, your benefits work even when you’re away from home. Keep in mind that seeing a doctor who’s out of your network may mean you’re responsible for the full cost of your visit, except in the case of an emergency.
Choosing the best option
Luckily for you, there was a 24-hour pharmacy just up the road from your campground with a pharmacist still on duty. He was able to look at your daughter’s hand and recommend a burn ointment to help soothe her skin and allow it to heal.
Choosing this option for care saved you the hours spent waiting in the emergency room as well as the expense for treatment.
Doctor On Demand physicians do not prescribe Drug Enforcement Administration-controlled substances, and may elect not to treat or prescribe other medications based on what is clinically appropriate.