5 ways to prepare for medical emergencies
When an emergency strikes, it’s important be prepared.
When the nation went on lockdown at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and store shelves were bare, we all wished we had a supply of essentials like food and toilet paper as we sheltered at home. We’ve likely all learned it’s helpful to have some money saved up in case the furnace breaks or the car breaks down. It’s equally important to be prepared and know how to respond when you’re sick or injured and need medical care. You don’t want to be trying to figure out what to do when you aren’t feeling well and need help fast.
Here are some ways you can prepare for medical emergencies:
- Get a primary care provider. Having a doctor established now makes it easier to get care when you need it. It can sometimes take a while to find an in-network provider who’s accepting new patients, and they often have long wait times, so you’ll want to start working on finding one right away. Here are some tips to help in your search. You can also try our find a doctor tool or call the number on the back of your member ID card and we can help you find a provider near you.
- Know where to go for care. Make sure you know when you should head to the emergency room versus an urgent care or your doctor’s office, versus the virtual care options available with your Regence plan. Here’s some information on available care options. You should also know the location of your nearest in-network urgent care and hospital so you aren’t searching for an address when you’re sick. You may want to have a list of contact information on hand for all your important health care services, such as your primary care provider, pediatrician and other physician specialists, urgent care, poison control, pharmacy, and health insurance. You can print this contact list and add all your important numbers to it for easy reference.
- Get all your age-appropriate recommended preventive care, such as an annual wellness visit with your primary care provider, health screenings and vaccinations. These will help you stay healthy and prevent future illness. Most vaccinations and screenings are covered with no out-of-pocket costs if you meet criteria. Talk to your doctor about what preventive care you need and sign in to your account on regence.com to learn more about your coverage.
- Keep some basic medical supplies on hand so you’ll have them when needed. Be sure to have a well-stocked first-aid kit, as well common over-the-counter medications like pain relievers and cold and flu medications. You may be able to use your Health Savings Account to purchase most of these supplies. Medications do expire and can be dangerous or ineffective if used after their expiration date, so be sure to rotate supplies regularly.
- Complete an advance directive. An advance directive is a plan that provides instructions about the choices you’d prefer for your care if you become unable to make decisions for yourself. It may also appoint another person or persons who would make your health care decisions for you, if necessary. It’s a good idea for everyone to have an advance directive, even if you’re young and healthy. Learn more about advance care directives on the Regence blog, and state-specific information from CaringInfo.
Find more tips and get help finding resources at regence.com.
You can click the image below to download a printable emergency medical contacts list.