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How to Choose Where to Seek Care and Save

Tips to share when seeking care

Consumers have more choices than ever when deciding where to go for medical care. Knowing all available options can help save money. When plan members choose care to fit their budget, employers can save on health care costs too.

Help employees to make informed decisions to protect their wallets from avoidable out-of-pocket costs with these tips below:

$ Primary Care Provider Office and Telemedicine

Your primary care provider's office is a great choice for non-emergency care because it's your medical home – the place where they know you best. If you've received your recommended wellness checks, your provider should already know about your health history and concerns. And with many health insurance policies, an in-network primary care office is one of the most cost-effective places to receive care.

Telemedicine services, such as MeMD®, offer convenience and often, the most cost savings when compared to other options. Telemedicine is particularly well-suited for certain specialties, including behavioral health. MeMD® telemedicine services connect patients virtually to U.S. board-certified doctors and therapists.

  • Urgent Care: U.S. board-certified doctors and medical providers are available 24/7/365 to diagnose, treat, and prescribe medication (when necessary) for many minor illnesses and injuries via phone or online video visits.
  • Talk Therapy: Licensed therapists can help with a wide range of mental and emotional health needs. Receive ongoing support, on your schedule, from the comfort and privacy of your own home via phone or online video visits in as little as 48 hours.

MeMD® is either included or available as an add-on option with most Allstate Benefits products.

Woman looking at phone in bed.

$$ Retail Health Clinics

Retail Health Clinics are located within stores and pharmacies and often offer evening and weekend hours. These clinics can offer preventive care such as vaccinations and treatment for minor medical problems.

$$$ Urgent Care

Urgent care centers or walk-in clinics can be used for non-emergency care, but may be more costly. They can provide same-day service and are often open early mornings, evenings, and weekends. You don't need an appointment and can be seen on a walk-in basis. Urgent care centers are good options for treating cold and flu symptoms, ear infections, cuts with controlled bleeding, nausea and vomiting, sprains, and urinary tract infections.*

However, it may be more cost-effective to see your primary care or telemedicine provider, if possible.

$$$$ Emergency Rooms

Emergency rooms should be used in cases of severe or life-threatening conditions. ERs are open 24/7, 365 days a year and have the equipment and expertise to handle the most critical illnesses and injuries. You should go to the ER when experiencing chest pain or stroke, bone breaks, snake bites, serious burns or cuts, coughing up or vomiting blood, serious injuries to the head, neck, spine, or back, and fevers in babies under 8 weeks of age.*

An emergency room visit can cost much more than other care options. Patients should use this option for a true emergency.

Medical care cost infographic.

Footnotes and disclaimers:

* https://www.cedars-sinai.org/blog/go-urgent-care-or-emergency-room.html

MeMD® offers medical consultations, behavioral health counseling, and talk therapy services via telehealth to patients nationwide. Services are provided in accordance with state law by physicians, nurse practitioners, and other licensed professionals. When medically necessary, MeMD® providers may prescribe medication that patients can pick up at a local pharmacy. Virtual Urgent Care visits are not a replacement for a primary care physician or annual physical exam.

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