4 Ways to Prepare for Unexpected Care Needs

By being prepared and taking the following four steps ahead of time, you can make it easier to get nonemergency care when you need it.
Soccer players supporting an injured player

Whether it is COVID-19, a new injury, or an out-of-the-blue illness, you want health care to be quick and easy when you need it most. The good news – you have a variety of options. 

Even during the pandemic, healthcare facilities are open and have put in measures designed to help keep you safe. These include social distancing and requiring everyone to wear masks. 

Some facilities may be busier than normal right now. But by being prepared and taking the following four steps ahead of time, you can make it easier to get nonemergency care when you need it. 

1. Save the NurseHelp 24/7SM phone number

Connect with a registered nurse any time you need one. Nurses are available to help you select appropriate care and answer health care questions.
  • Add the NurseHelp 24/7SM  to your phone contacts or write it down on your emergency phone numbers list: (877) 304-0504 [TTY: 711].

2. Know how your doctor can help

Your primary doctor – also known as a primary care physician or PCP – is often the best first point of contact for your care needs. Here are some questions to ask them:
  • Can you get same-day appointments if needed? 
  • Does the office offer telehealth visits by phone or video?
  • What should you do if you have a health concern outside of office hours?

3. Locate your nearest urgent care center

Urgent care centers are ideal for non-emergency care when your doctor is not available. They are staffed with licensed physicians, often offer extended hours, and usually have shorter wait times than emergency rooms. Many centers offer lab testing and imaging (x-ray, etc.) services.

4. Register for in-home and virtual options*

Not all plans have access to these services below. Please log in to find out which services you have access to.
If your doctor is unavailable, you can still get care when you need it. Both Teladoc and HealTM give you quick and convenient access to licensed doctors. 


Have a doctor come to you or talk to one by video on your phone. Heal doctors are available 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. 

Learn more

HealTM is available to PPO, Trio, and Tandem members and typically costs the same as the copay for an office visit.
Heal is available in the following regions: Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, Inland Empire, San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley, Sacramento.


Speak to a doctor by phone or video anytime, anywhere. Teladoc doctors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Learn more

* Please refer to your Evidence of Coverage, or plan documents for information about out-of-pocket costs for your plan. You can also call the customer care number on your ID card. Or you can log in to your online account to see what your plan covers.

Remember: If you feel you are having a medical emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. Don’t delay or avoid emergency care. Hospitals are open for all emergency needs – not just COVID-19


Manage your health on the go

Search for a doctor, use your ID card and view your benefits with the Blue Shield of California app.