Know Before You Go - When You Need Care

Knowing where to go when you need medical care is key to getting the best treatment with the lowest out-of-pocket costs. Except for emergencies, your first call should be to your primary care provider.

  • Primary care provider (PCP)
    Establishing a relationship with your PCP is important. Your PCP may be able to provide advice over the phone or fit you in for a visit right away.
  • 24-Hour Nurse Advice Line
    Registered nurses are available 24/7 to discuss your symptoms with you and recommend the most appropriate care. Call 800-535-9700 anytime to speak with a nurse.
  • CareFirst Video Visit
    When your PCP isn’t available and you need urgent care services, CareFirst Video Visit securely connects you with a doctor, day or night, through your smartphone, tablet or computer. In addition, you can schedule visits for other needs such as behavioral health support from a therapist or psychiatrist, guidance from a certified nutritionist or breastfeeding support from a lactation consultant. It’s a convenient and easy way to get the care you need, wherever you are. Visit carefirstvideovisit.com to get started.
  • Convenience care centers (retail health clinics)
    These are typically located inside a pharmacy or retail store (like CVS MinuteClinic or Walgreens Healthcare Clinic) and offer care for non-emergency situations like colds, pink eye, strep tests and vaccinations. These centers usually have evening and weekend hours.
  • Urgent care centers
    Urgent care centers (such as Patient First or ExpressCare) provide treatment for injuries and illnesses that require prompt medical attention but are not life-threatening (sprains, minor cuts, flu, rashes, minor burns). These centers have doctors on staff and offer weekend/after-hours care.
  • Emergency room (ER)
    Emergency rooms treat acute illnesses and trauma. Go to the ER right away if you or a family member have sudden symptoms that need emergency care, including (but not limited to): chest pain, trouble breathing or head trauma. Prior authorization is not needed for emergency room services.

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NOTE: The information provided herein regarding various care options is meant to be helpful when you are seeking care and is not intended as medical advice. Only a medical provider can offer medical advice. The choice of provider or place to seek medical treatment belongs entirely to you.