how to use health insurance in emergency

Understanding My Insurance, part 4

Previously, we discussed some basics on understanding your coverage. Today we’ll outline some considerations in case you need to use your insurance for emergency care.

You already know the number to dial in an emergency (9-1-1), but there are a few other things you should familiarize yourself with in regards to your health insurance coverage. Consider the following if you are thinking about a trip to the emergency room:

  • You should only go if you’re experiencing severe pain, if you’re injured or if you’re extremely sick.
  • Modern emergency services are invaluable in a trauma or life-threatening situations, but are inefficient for routine care. Visits to an ER for minor, non-urgent care can be two to three times more expensive than a visit to the doctor’s office.
  • Unlike your doctor’s office, the provider working in the emergency room may not have access to your health records.
  • You could experience long wait times if your condition is not an emergency.

In a true emergency, we always want our members to go to the nearest emergency room. If you live in the BCBSKS service area (all Kansas counties except Johnson and Wyandotte) and need emergency care in one of the 103 counties we cover, you’re in luck. Every acute care hospital in our service area is in our network.

If you aren’t sure where to receive care, call your doctor’s office first to let him or her help you decide if you should treat your symptoms with self-care, a visit to the doctor’s office, by going to an urgent care clinic, or getting to the emergency room.

Next in series: Find a provider and make an appointment

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