Sometimes, it's easy to know when you need to go to an emergency room (ER) – for example, if you are having a heart attack. But most of the time knowing when to go to the ER isn't always so clear. Here is some information to help you decide what care you need, and where you should go to receive it.
Doctor care – in the office
See your doctor for minor problems such as strep throat or an ear infection. See your doctor for checkups or for any follow-up or on-going care.
Urgent care – in an urgent care center
Urgent care centers provide care when your doctor isn't available, such as at night or on weekends. For example, urgent care centers can treat sprained ankles, fevers, minor cuts and injuries. Do not use urgent care centers for follow-up care or for issues that can wait for your doctor. For serious threats to your health, you need to go to the ER.
Retail Clinics- a quick alternative for common ailments
Retail clinics, or Walk in clinics as they are also called are designed to offer a quick alternative for common ailments with no appointment necessary. Each clinic consists of a Nurse Practitioners and/or Physician Assistants treating ailments such as strep throat, pink eye, and seasonal allergies. Members accessing retail clinics do not need a referral from their PCP.
Emergency care* -- in an ER
Aetna always covers emergency care for members. If you have an emergency:
- Call your local emergency number — such as 911 — or go to the nearest ER.
- Once you are stable, ask the staff to call your doctor. Your doctor can share important information about your health with the ER staff.
- Call your doctor or Aetna as soon as possible if you have to stay in the hospital.
Need a primary care physician? Want to locate an urgent care center or a walk in clinic? Go to www.aetna.com , log in and click the DocFind® link in the left column, or call the toll-free Member Services number on your ID card.
* Aetna defines an emergency as "symptoms so severe that not getting medical attention right away could endanger the person's health. This includes pregnant women and unborn children." See your plan documents for details that may be specific to your state.