This blog is presented by Shara McClure, Senior Divisional Vice President, Texas Health Care Delivery for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas.
Imagine walking into a freestanding emergency room because you have a cough. Imagine walking out with a prescription and a bill for more than $3,000. Although this seems like a nightmare, it has been a reality for thousands of Texans over the past several years.
In 2009, freestanding emergency rooms (ERs) began appearing in Texas. Freestanding ERs are not attached to hospitals and in most instances, are not a part of a hospital’s network of services or providers. Where are freestanding ERs located? You may notice them in affluent neighborhoods where there is already a large selection of health care options available.
How could freestanding emergency rooms (ERs) impact you?
The good news is that you have options. It's imperative to understand the choices you have available for non-emergency care like the cough mentioned above. You can often avoid an emergency room visit, and the ER bill. Essentially, this reduces your overall health care costs. If you think your health issue is life-threatening, don’t wait! Call 911 or go to the nearest ER. We’ve got you covered. However, when you don’t think it is serious or life-threatening, there are other paths available to you for those situations.
What are my options for non-emergency care?
And remember – for routine care, visit your doctor in your plans network. HMO members, be sure to see your Primary Care Physician.
Use Provider Finder to see if there is one near you by selecting "Retail Health Clinics" from the “Provider Type” dropdown.
Being knowledgeable about your options can make a big difference. We recognize that controlling health care costs for individuals is a complex matter. We offer ways on how to control your costs and care at the right place and the at the right time on our BCBSTX website.
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