Understand Your Options for Care

 

When you need care, the first place you turn to is your primary care provider. But if they are closed, cannot fit you in for a same-day appointment or you are out of town, where are you supposed to go? The closest hospital might seem like the obvious choice, but it might not be the most cost-effective and convenient option. When you are feeling sick or are injured, there are several key places you can go for medical care. When seeing your primary care physician is not possible it is important to know your care options to find the place that is right for your condition and help avoid financial surprises. While the answer is not always simple, this quick reference guide can help you select the right setting for your needs.

Primary Care Provider

 

Seeing your primary care physician (PCP) is important. A PCP can provide preventative care, treat minor illnesses and injuries, connect you to specialists and fully understand your medical history for improved health outcomes. Plus, your doctor knows your medical history and any ongoing health conditions. Seeing somebody who already has a relationship with you can help to ensure that you get the treatment you need.

You may see your primary care physician for:

  • Preventive services and vaccinations
  • Medical problems or symptoms that are not an immediate, serious threat to your health or life
  • Ongoing medical care for a chronic condition

The typical wait time for scheduling an appointment with a network PCP is one week. When visiting a network PCP, your preventive care check-up costs $0 and any other visits throughout the year are just a $15 co-pay.

We encourage you to seek care from your PCP whenever possible. Visiting the emergency room for non-emergency health concerns may result in barriers to building a long-term relationship with a primary care physician.

Telehealth

 

The Compass Rose Health Plan offers telehealth services through Doctor On Demand. You also have the option to utilize telehealth services offered by your in-network primary care provider’s office.

For your convenience, Doctor On Demand is available 7 days a week — even when other health care options are closed — for a $0 co-pay. Next time you are out of town or your doctor's office is closed, remember that Doctor On Demand lets you see a board-certified physician face-to-face immediately over live video from your mobile device or computer. Doctor On Demand physicians can diagnose, treat and even prescribe medication if necessary.

Common treatable conditions include:

  • Cold / Flu
  • Fever
  • Sore Throat
  • Allergies
  • Diarrhea / Vomiting
  • Rashes
  • Urinary Tract Infections

Retail or Convenient Care Clinic

 

Retail clinics, sometimes called convenient care clinics, are located in many large pharmacies and retail stores like Walgreens or MinuteClinic inside CVS. These clinics are staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants and are designed to treat simple conditions.

Retail and convenient care clinics are also less expensive than going to the emergency room — costing just $15 at network clinics. Plus, the wait time is around 15 minutes or less, on average.

Examples of when to go include:

  • Cold / Flu
  • Sinus infection
  • Allergies
  • Vaccinations or screenings
  • Minor sprains, burns or rashes
  • Headaches or sore throats
  • Ear Infections

Urgent Care

 

If you cannot reach your doctor or need care outside of regular office hours, an urgent care center may be a good option. Urgent care centers have physicians on staff and can provide care for a wider range of conditions.

In most cases, the out-of-pocket cost for visiting an urgent care center will be less than a trip to the emergency room, but it is always a good idea to make sure the location you select is in-network. Your cost for outpatient care for accidental injury & medical emergencies at a network urgent care facility is $50.

Additionally, the average wait time is around 20-30 minutes, meaning you can receive care much faster than if you went to the emergency room.

Urgent care centers are good for:

  • Cold / Flu
  • Sore throat
  • Infection
  • Rashes
  • Sprains and strains
  • Minor broken bones or cuts
  • Mild asthma attack
  • Earaches

Some locations even perform x-rays.

Emergency Room

 

Emergency rooms (ER) are designed to treat urgent, acute and life-threatening conditions, and are not the best place to go for routine care or minor ailments.

If you feel you are dealing with a health emergency, call 911 or go to the emergency room right away. Otherwise, one of the previously mentioned options will save you time and money, and clear the way for patients in need of emergency treatment.

It is important to note that in an emergency room, urgent patients are treated first. So you could end up waiting hours for a non-critical case. In addition, because the ER typically treats patients at a rapid pace, you might wind up with testing and treatment that you do not need and may not receive the attention you would in a different health care setting. What's more, hospitals are a breeding ground for infections. Why expose yourself to that risk if you do not need to?

Emergency rooms are commonly used for:

  • Sudden change in vision
  • Sudden weakness or trouble talking
  • Large, open wounds
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Severe head injury
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Spinal injuries
  • Chest pain
  • Major burns
  • Major broken bones

Be Prepared

 

When you or a loved one is sick or injured, it can be challenging to research options and know what is best in that moment. To help you get the right care, it is best to be prepared before a possible health issue arises.

That is why we encourage you to check out where your local convenience care or urgent care centers are located, what they treat (and what they don't), hours and what insurance is accepted.

While none of us can prevent injury or illness, we can take preventive steps to know and understand what health care facilities are best suited for minor conditions — and when to seek emergency room treatment.



  • Provider Search Directory

    Choose a primary care provider, convenience care clinic, urgent care center or emergency room near you in the nationwide UnitedHealthcare Choice Plus network.



  • Doctor On Demand

    Skip the waiting room with Doctor On Demand. See a board-certified physician face-to-face immediately over live video from your smartphone or computer — available 24/7.



  • Not Sure Where to Go?

    From the ER to urgent care, your primary physician to telehealth, it is important to know your care options when you have an illness or injury. Put your knowledge to the test.


    • Choose a primary care provider, convenience care clinic, urgent care center or emergency room near you in the nationwide UnitedHealthcare Choice Plus network.

    • Skip the waiting room with Doctor On Demand. See a board-certified physician face-to-face immediately over live video from your smartphone or computer — available 24/7.

    • From the ER to urgent care, your primary physician to telehealth, it is important to know your care options when you have an illness or injury. Put your knowledge to the test.

 


Know Where to Go

Search for doctors, hospitals and other health care providers within the UnitedHealthcare Choice Plus network using our Provider Directory.