Know Before You Go - When You Need Care

Knowing where to go when you need medical care is key to getting the best treatment with the lowest out-of-pocket costs. Except for emergencies, your first call should be to your primary care provider.

  • Primary care provider (PCP)
    Establishing a relationship with your PCP is important. Your PCP may be able to provide advice over the phone or fit you in for a visit right away.
  • FirstHelp - free 24-hour nurse advice line
    Call 800-535-9700 anytime to speak with a registered nurse. Nurses can provide you with medical advice and recommend the most appropriate care.
  • CareFirst Video Visit
    See a doctor 24/7 without an appointment! You can consult with a board-certified doctor whenever you want on your smartphone, tablet or computer. Start your video visit now.
  • Convenience care centers (retail health clinics)
    These are typically located inside a pharmacy or retail store (e.g., CVS MinuteClinic or Walgreens Healthcare Clinic) and offer extended hours. Visit a convenience care center for help with minor concerns like cold symptoms and ear infections.
  • Urgent care centers
    Urgent care centers (e.g., Patient First or ExpressCare) have doctors on staff for more severe illnesses or injuries when you need care on weekends or after hours.
  • Emergency room (ER)
    An ER provides treatment for acute illnesses and trauma. Call 911 or go straight to the ER if you have a life-threatening injury, illness or emergency.

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NOTE: The information provided herein regarding various care options is meant to be helpful when you are seeking care and is not intended as medical advice. Only a medical provider can offer medical advice. The choice of provider or place to seek medical treatment belongs entirely to you.