Learn About Your Options for Care Before You Need It
Let’s get this out of the way first: If you’re having serious issues, such as severe chest pains, changes in mental status or sudden numbness or weakness, call 911 or get to the emergency room as quickly as possible. Any delay could be life-threatening.
But for less-serious medical issues, you have options for when your primary care doctor isn’t available. Options that may save you time and money and allow you to get care wherever you are.
Urgent care centers can handle many conditions, ranging from sprains and breaks to a cold and the flu. The wait times are typically shorter and the costs are usually less than if you go to the emergency room. Some urgent care centers are open 24 hours, though many close before 10 p.m.
To find a nearby urgent care center, visit floridablue.com or floridablue.com/medicare, select “find a doctor” and choose “urgent care centers/walk-in clinics” from the drop-down menu for provider type.
Thanks to virtual care, you can get medical advice whenever you want it from wherever you are. Other benefits include avoiding prolonged waits and minimizing time missed at work.
Dr. Kelli Wells, Florida Blue’s senior medical director for medical affairs, said many conditions are ideal for virtual care, including upper respiratory, urinary tract and sinus infections, as well as colds.
This care method is also good for people with the flu, she said, because symptoms can be severe in the first 48 hours when the start of treatment is most valuable. It also keeps patients from spreading the flu to others in the doctor’s office, urgent care centers or the emergency room.
Another benefit of virtual care is how quickly you can get an appointment. For example, the average wait time for a Teladoc appointment is about 10 minutes. The service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Not only is it convenient, the copay is less than you’ll pay at an emergency room or urgent care center. For more information, visit teladoc.com, call 800-Teladoc (835-2362) or download the Teladoc app.
Teladoc is available to many Florida Blue members who get their health plan through their job and those with individual plans. Florida Blue Medicare members pay the same cost share for a virtual health visit that they would for a network doctor visit.
Florida Blue members who are established patients at Sanitas Medical Centers can use mySanitas Chat from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. daily with a $0 copay. For more information, visit mySanitas.com/chat or download the mySanitas Chat app.
Wells said patients who use virtual care don’t necessarily want less time with their clinician because of the mode of interaction. “The expectation is that members get care that is comparable to what they would receive in an in-person visit,” she said.