High Level Care for High Level Needs—2 Options for Immediate Assistance

In 3 Options for Easy Care, we shared an overview of the options you have available for small but urgent matters, where you can find Paths 1, 2 and 3. We hope you never need this information, but just in case something more serious than a sore throat comes your way, you should know where you can go.

Path 4: Hospital ER
We know it by instinct – Call 911 if you have an emergency or go to your nearest hospital emergency room! There are times when you have no choice or it’s pretty clear that a medical condition is life threatening. 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 be treated at the nearest hospital emergency room. Out-of-pocket costs are higher, and wait times can average 4 hours. Remember ER visits should be reserved for true emergencies. If in doubt, and there’s a second to spare, you can always call ahead to your nearest emergency facility to ask if the condition warrants a trip to the hospital ER.

Path 5: Stand-Alone ER
Knowing the difference between a stand-alone ER and an urgent care center can be hard, but can mean a big difference in saving you money. So how do you know if you’re at a stand-alone ER, which often look a lot like urgent care centers? The name includes EMERGENCY in the facility name and is open 24hours a day, seven days a week. They are separate from a hospital but are equipped and operate the same as an ER, and are staffed by board certified ER physicians. They treat many life-threatening or disabling conditions. Costs are 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.

Needing an emergency room (either stand-alone or attached to a hospital) can be a scary experience. Life and death situations don’t come often, but if you’re ever in the position to need an emergency room, we hope you can now identify which solution is best for you. If you have specific questions on what your BCBSNM health plan covers, call us. We can help -- call us at the number on the back of your Membership ID card.

Most recent update: 1/24/2018

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