Is this ER-worthy?

ERIs this ER-worthy?

Some health decisions are easy. Have an emergency? Head to the ER. But what about a sprained ankle or a small cut that needs stitches? In these cases, going to the ER might not only be unnecessary, but could also cost you more. Know your options so you can get the right care for your needs.

Doctor’s office1

He or she knows your medical history best.

Cost: $30

Use for: Routine medical care, preventive care such as health screenings and immunizations, and treatment of non-emergency problems such as colds/flu, earaches, fever and sore throat.

Convenience care/Retail clinic1 (typically found in drug or grocery stores)

You don’t need an appointment at these clinics, which are usually found in grocery and drug stores.

Cost: $30

Use for: Minor illnesses and injuries such as:

  • Allergies
  • Bronchitis
  • Colds/Flu
  • Earache
  • Head lice
  • Mild rashes
  • Minor injuries
  • Pinkeye
  • Sore throat
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Basic lab testing such as pregnancy testing

Urgent care1

You don’t need an appointment, and you’ll usually have a shorter wait than at the ER.

Cost: $50

Use for: When your concern isn’t life-threatening but you can’t wait to see your doctor.

  • Minor animal bites
  • Ear infections
  • Fever
  • Flu
  • Mild asthma symptoms
  • Mild vomiting or diarrhea
  • Minor burns
  • Minor cuts that may need stitches
  • Rashes
  • Sprains, strains and minor fractures

Emergency room (ER)1

For medical emergencies. People with minor issues must wait until more critical people are seen first.

Cost: You pay 10% after you pay the deductible.

Use for: Emergency* conditions such as:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest (or upper abdomen)
  • Sudden difficulty speaking or walking
  • Fainting or feeling suddenly weak or dizzy
  • Sudden confusion
  • Sudden or severe pain
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Large open wounds
  • Fractures (other than minor fractures)
  • Severe or persistent vomiting or diarrhea

*Certain symptoms, including chest pain, sudden weakness, difficulty speaking, change in vision or confusion require immediate attention. If you have any of these symptoms or think you are having a life-threatening emergency from any cause, including heart attack or stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately.

1 These numbers are averages and are not tied to a specific condition or treatment. Actual treatments may vary depending on your benefit coverage.


Talk through your options by calling a Health Advocate at 1-877-My-THRLink (1-877-698-4754).