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It's important to know where to go when you need care for everything from minor illnesses and injuries to serious health conditions.

While the answer is not always simple, knowing your options and deciding where to go can mean the difference in cost and time. The most important thing is to be prepared before you go and make sure you will be covered by your plan's network.

Your primary doctor is always a good first choice for general care and annual exams, but what happens if you need care when the office is closed or you can't get an appointment? Learn about your options for care.

AVOID THE ER UNLESS IT'S A TRUE EMERGENCY

The emergency room (ER) is for the most serious medical situations — that's why it's the most expensive place for care. The average ER visit can cost up to $2,200 (excluding tests and treatments) and can take over two hours. (debt.org)

Be Prepared

Before you need care:

  • Find the nearest in-network urgent care center by contacting BCBSIL or 1-888-895-6981, M – F, 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. CT.
  • Register for virtual doctor visits at MDLIVE or with the MDLIVE mobile app; you can also call 1-888-676-4204 or send a text to 635483.
  • Add the BCBSIL nurseline as a contact on your phone: 1-800-299-0274.