blue bulletin from bcidaho

What to know when going to the hospital

Before you need to get care, it’s a good idea to know where and when to go. The ER or hospital isn't always the best option for non-emergency care, as you may pay higher out-of-pocket costs. But sometimes you may need to go to the hospital, so knowing when to go and what you should do after you leave can help you prevent issues and get back to being healthy.

what to know when going to the hospitalBefore going to the hospital

Before going straight to the hospital or ER, it’s good to know what your options are. Going to in-network doctors and facilities can help you save more of your healthcare dollars and get the most out of your benefits.

When to go to your doctor or an urgent care clinic

If you're sick or injured, but your condition is not life threatening, you have a couple options:

  • Your doctor: Contact your doctor right away. You might be able to make a same-day appointment.
  • Urgent care: Visit an in-network urgent care clinic. You can get care right away if you’re sick or injured and even get drugs sent to your pharmacy.

You can search for an in-network doctor or urgent care clinic using the Find Care tool on the Blue Cross of Idaho member app and member website. Make sure you log in so that you only see providers and facilities that are in your network.

When to go to the hospital

Go to a hospital or ER for help in a life-threatening emergency. Care you get at the ER or hospital during an emergency will be covered by your plan. However, it’s best to know which hospitals are in network so you have a plan before there’s an emergency.

When you’re admitted to the hospital

When you are admitted to the hospital for care, you might need to take new medications. Try to get all the details of the care and drugs you get during your stay so that you can share them with your doctor after you are discharged. This information can help your doctor coordinate your care better with other providers and help you recover.

When you’re discharged from the hospital

Getting all the details of your stay, including new medications and treatments, when you leave the hospital can help you and your doctor stay informed about your health. You should bring this information with you to any follow-up appointments you have after your hospital stay. If you do not have any appointments scheduled to follow up on your hospital visit, call your doctor to schedule an appointment.

Here are some of the details you may want to gather and share with your doctor after a hospital stay:

  • Discharge instructions, including:
    • A complete list of medications you were taking while in the hospital, as well as any new prescriptions given or over-the-counter medications you were advised to take
    • A complete list of the routine medications you were taking before being hospitalized
    • A discharge summary from your discharging provider, which includes your admission and discharge diagnosis, current health state, procedures and laboratory functions performed, plans of care, etc.
  • Details of your care plan, including rehabilitation appointments, labs, physical therapy, imaging, physical restrictions, etc.
  • Referral details so that your doctor can coordinate care with other providers, which can help you recover safely and avoid complications or a readmission

Your doctor may already have this information, but bringing it with you to your appointments will ensure you and your doctor have all the information you need.

Download the member app

With the Blue Cross of Idaho member app, you have access to important plan information at your fingertips. Use the member app to view and send a digital copy of your member ID card, find care, view claims and more. Get it in the App Store or Google Play Store today!


Posted: May 31, 2023