Knowing where to go when the need for medical care arises unexpectedly can sometimes be confusing. Do you call your doctor or your child’s pediatrician? Head right to the emergency room? Can it be handled at urgent care? And with the addition of virtual care in recent years, there is yet another very convenient option to add to the mix.
This guide can help you determine the best course of action when you need unexpected medical care.
Important: If you or a family member is experiencing a life-threatening emergency call 911 or head to the nearest emergency room.
As a SchoolCare/Cigna health plan participant you have several options when you need care:
Virtual Care (Telehealth): While you can seek preventive or routine care via telehealth or virtual care through MDLive, it is also great for certain conditions needing urgent care – things like rashes, colds, flu and other infections. Virtual care can also be used to augment care if you are trying to schedule with your PCP or therapist but cannot get a timely appointment. Chat with a provider via telehealth if you need care now and follow up with your own provider when you can get an appointment. Get started by logging into your myCigna account or call 888-726-3171. MDLive also provides behavioral care with access to psychiatrists and therapists from the comfort of home and dermatology. MDLive is available 24/7/365.
Primary Care: This is yours or your child’s regular provider. Schedule preventive or routine care appointments, obtain vaccinations or visit for medical concerns such as sinus and ear infections. You may also want to see your PCP for specialists recommendations.
Urgent Care: When your PCP office is closed, or you don’t want to wait for an appointment and you need more than virtual care, urgent care facilities generally provide extended hours for things like minor cuts, broken bones, illness, and back or joint pain. Though wait times depend on demand, they are frequently faster than emergency rooms and the cost is generally lower.
Emergency Room: ER visits are best reserved for the most critical of illnesses – like chest pain, severe burns, traumatic injuries, stroke, or poisoning/overdose. They can also be used for more minor injuries or illnesses that cannot wait after hours for urgent care. Emergency room visits are typically the most expensive and often the longest wait times.
Check out Cigna’s Know Before You Go flyer as a guide for your care options.