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Care When You Need It: How-to Guide

Doctor’s office closed? Try health clinics in retail stores or video chat with a doctor.

What you should know

Your primary care provider should always be your first choice when you need care. Many practices are open on nights and weekends, and there’s often a provider on call 24/7. But if you have a minor health problem and the office is closed, don’t pay high costs at urgent care centers or the emergency room. As a BCBSRI member, you have convenient new ways to get care.

Make the most of your care

Try lower cost care when you’re sick or have a minor injury.
Good for: colds, flu, headaches, sinus infections, sprains, and digestive problems

  • Retail clinics
    If you need care quickly, retail clinics—such as a MinuteClinic® in CVS/pharmacy®—are a convenient alternative.
  • Video chat with a doctor.
    Talk with a doctor on your smartphone, tablet, or computer with BCBSRI Doctors Online. Search “Drs. Online” from the Apple or Google app store* or visit

Use urgent and emergency room care for more serious health problems.

  • Urgent care
    Good for: Problems that need a higher level of care but are not emergencies, such as minor broken bones and fractures, back problems, eye injuries, and cuts needing stitches
  • Emergency room
    Needed for: Life-threatening problems, such as bleeding that won’t stop, difficulty breathing, and sudden or severe pain

*Apple and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Google Play is a trademark of Google Inc.

In the case of an emergency, you should always call 911. Doctors Online is not intended to replace these services and should not be used in those circumstances. 

Doctors Online is a telemedicine service provided by American Well®, an independent company that administers Doctors Online on behalf of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island.