It is always best to obtain routine medical and recommended preventive care services from a family doctor. There are significant differences between visits to your primary care doctor and those to an emergency room.

When should you visit your primary care provider?

  • You’ll consult your primary care provider for routine care both when you’re well and when you’re sick. They’ll understand your concerns and assist you in tracking your health over time.
  • Primary care providers are available in clinics, doctor’s offices, and health centers across the country.
  • Before making your first appointment, check your health plan to see how much a primary care visit will cost you. Your copayment for your visit could range between $0 and $50.

When should you seek emergency care?

  • You should only go to the emergency unit if you are seriously injured or ill. You may have to wait several hours before being seen, and you will likely need to pay a higher copayment, coinsurance, and meet your deductible before your health plan covers your costs.
  • Providers in the emergency room are unlikely to have access to your medical records.
  • Always dial 9-1-1 in life-threatening or emergency conditions.