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Emergency Room or Urgent Care!?

Author: Christina Cross    Posted: May 4, 2015

If you’re experiencing an emergency, please call 911…

Have you ever received a large bill from the emergency room & thought to yourself; What just happened!? I sat in the waiting room longer than I was with the doctor and they didn’t even do any tests!

My question to you is: Why did you go to the emergency room?  Most likely there are a few common reasons.  Maybe you don’t have a regular doctor that you could have called.  Maybe you didn’t realize there is a nurse line at the hospital that you can call in advance and that call is typically no charge.  Maybe you were unaware that an urgent care facility was right next door to the emergency room and costs less.

More than 135 million Americans go to the emergency room every year.  While many of us picture visiting the ER for only the most dire emergencies, the most common reasons people visit the ER are:  stomach and abdominal pain, chest pain, fever, headache, and back pain.  Obviously, many of these symptoms, like chest pain, could indicate serious conditions, such as a heart attack.  But many do not.

Education is KEY in the insurance world.  We are personal navigators for our clients and these are a few tips that might if you need care quickly:

Locate the closest urgent care facility, their phone number, and hours open – put that info on your fridge.  Call your insurance carrier or your advocate and ask them if your current health insurance program has a nurse line open 24 hours a day.

Emergency room symptoms:

  • Bleeding that doesn’t stop after 10 minutes of direct pressure
  • Signs of a heart attack, such as chest pains that last more than two minutes
  • Signs of stroke, such as numbness of the face, arm, and leg on one side of the body, sudden loss of vision, or loss of speech
  • Severe shortness of breath or sudden dizziness
  • Major injuries such as broken bones, partial or total amputation of a limb, or trauma to the head
  • Coughing up or vomiting blood
  • Suicidal feelings

Urgent care symptoms:

  • Cuts or wounds where bleeding is controlled
  • Sprains, strains, or bruises
  • Mild or moderate asthma attacks
  • Infections of the urinary tract, ear, or upper respiratory system
  • Flu-like symptoms, such as sore throat, fever, coughing and congestion
  • Mild or moderate stomach pains or diarrhea
  • Rashes, insect bites, or sunburns

Many people end up in the ER because they don’t know what else to do.  By having a plan and thinking ahead, you can make smart choices that are good not only for your health, but your budget as well.

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