Use the HealthNAVSM1 suite of tools. Part of Blue Connect, HealthNAV helps you locate and compare providers and care centers quickly and easily. Find a doctor by name, location or specialty, like cardiology or pediatrics. Not sure who to choose? You can read and leave reviews of doctors and other providers. HealthNAV's suite of tools can also help you save money. Log in to compare treatment costs at various medical facilities in your area. Or use it to locate the closest urgent care center. Treatment often happens faster and costs less when you go to urgent care instead of an ER in non-emergency situations.
Speak to an experienced nurse. In certain situations, it can be helpful to speak with a nurse to determine next steps. For example, perhaps you or your child develops a fever and you're not sure whether it warrants a visit to the doctor. Health Line Blue at 1-877-477-2424 is our 24/7 health information line staffed by experienced nurses. Please note that Health Line Blue is not available with all plans.
Designate a primary care physician (PCP) for your care. PCPs - those found in general practices, family practices, internal medicine and pediatrics - have experience with a broad range of medical issues. Aside from being the medical professional you see most and know best, your PCP acts like your medical point person who can help you navigate the health care system. For example, your PCP can refer you to a specialist and transfer your files and tests as needed. That way, you can avoid taking unnecessary duplicate exams and tests. Plus, your specialist may then have access to the valuable knowledge that will help inform your treatment such as your health and medication history. Use HealthNAV to find a PCP today.
A note about networks. BCBSNC offers a full range of plans, some of which save members money by limiting the size of their provider network. An example of this is BCBSNC's Blue Value plan.
Want to take advantage of the often-lower rates BCBSNC negotiates with in-network providers? Before visiting a doctor, ask whether the provider is in your plan's network. Not all providers accept all types of BCBSNC plans.
Ask about generic drugs. If you are prescribed medication, generic drugs can often provide the same health benefits as brand-name drugs at a fraction of the cost. In fact, generic drugs cost on average 80-85% less than their brand-name counterparts1. Ask your doctor or use HealthNAV to see if there's a generic that's right for you.
Shop around. Did you know that the same surgery can vary by $10,000 between hospitals in the same North Carolina town?2 Use HealthNAV to compare the costs of procedures and the quality of medical facilities in advance.
Take advantage of your preventive care benefits. Preventive care is covered at 100 percent by in-network physicians.3 Plus, annual preventive care checkups and screenings give doctors an ongoing picture of your overall health. That means your doctor could potentially find or help you avoid health issues before they become serious problems. (Learn more about managing your health and preventive procedures.)
Get your prescription drugs by mail. Avoid the drive and the wait. PrimeMail is the home delivery pharmacy service that delivers prescriptions right to your mailbox.4 Receive up to a 90-day supply of medication each delivery, all with no charge for shipping. Plus, you can order refills and check the status of your order. If your member ID card lists "Prime Therapeutics" on the back, you are eligible for this service.
Choose in-network doctors whenever possible. In-network physicians have contracted with BCBSNC to provide care to members at a set, predetermined rate. Depending on the procedure, using an in-network provider may save you a significant amount. (Learn more about in-network versus out-of-network physicians.)
In non-emergency situations, save money by:
- Going to your primary care physician.
- Considering urgent care. You'll spend as little as one-tenth the cost of an ER visit and a fraction of the time.5 To find the closest urgent care centers around the state, use HealthNAV on Blue Connect. Or try the Blue Connect mobile app - it's available through Google Play and the iTunes App Store. Wondering if urgent care is the best choice in your situation? Call Health Line Blue for advice at 1-877-477-2424. It's available 24/7 to members with eligible health plans.
After every doctor or hospital visit where a provider bill is issued, you will also receive in the mail an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from BCBSNC that lists the medical services you received. Compare this with the bill(s) you receive from your doctor or health care facility. If you've been to a hospital, it's also a good idea to request an itemized bill and check it carefully for accuracy. If something doesn't look right to you, contact the health care provider who filed the claim or BCBSNC customer service to discuss the claim in question.
You can also view all your EOBs - including ones for provider visits where no bill was issued - online at bcbsnc.com. For more information about reading your EOB, visit Blue Connect.
Learn more about receiving and paying your premium bills.
It's important to know whether your doctor is in-network. Depending on the procedure, using an in-network doctor could save you money versus a comparable out-of-network provider. That's because BCBSNC has negotiated lower rates with in-network physicians.
In-network physicians offer:
- Rates that often result in lower costs for you
- Lower deductible payments, meaning the amount you must pay before your insurance begins to pay
- Lower out-of-pocket costs, meaning any bills you have to pay for covered services
- Preventive services covered at no cost to you
Use HealthNAV to find out if your doctor is in-network.
Here are just a few suggestions to help make the most out of your visit:
- Tell your doctor about...
- All medications and supplements you are taking, including how much you take and how often. Keep in mind medications that treat different conditions can have similar names (for example, Zantac and Zyrtec), so accuracy is important. If it's easier, just bring your medications in their original containers to your visit.
- Any health concerns that you have.
- Ask your doctor about...
- Prescribed medications
- What does this medication do for me?
- How much do I take, and when should I take it?
- Does it come in a generic?
- Does it have side effects?
- Will it interfere with any other medications or interact with food?
- Why should I take this test?
- How will it help inform my treatment?
- How accurate is it?
- How much will it cost?
- Are there risks or side effects I should be aware of, such as radiation?
- What do I need to do to prepare for this test?
- When will I find out results?
- A diagnosis for a health condition
- What causes this condition?
- What symptoms could this cause?
- How will this affect my everyday life?
- How should I manage this condition?
- Do I need a follow-up visit?
- I’d like to get a second opinion. How should I proceed?
Yes. Did you know that the same surgery can vary by $10,000 between hospitals in the same North Carolina town?6 That's why BCBSNC provides HealthNAV, that lets you compare the cost of common procedures and read provider reviews, straight from members like you. HealthNAV is yet another way to take charge of your health - and your costs.
Urgent care can handle many common conditions for a fraction of the cost and time of an ER visit. This will help you determine where to go when you need prompt medical attention:
Common conditions that can be treated at an urgent care center:
- Back pain
- Broken fingers or toes
- Digestive discomfort
- Ear or eye infections
- Flu-like symptoms
- Sinus or allergy symptoms
- Headaches or migraines
- Minor burns and injuries
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sprains or strains
Conditions that require a visit to the ER:
- Any life-threatening issue
- Broken bones
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Excessive bleeding
- Head injuries
- Loss of consciousness
- Seizures or convulsions
- Sudden loss of vision
How can I find the right doctors, hospitals and specialists?
Are there ways to save money when it comes to my health care?
Click here for an infographic that explains what options you have when seeking medical care.
Knowing Where to Go Can Save Time and Money
How can I make sure my medical charges are correct?
How do I know if a doctor is in-network?
What should I do to prepare for my health care visits?
Can I shop around and compare prices for tests and procedures?
How do I know when to go to an urgent care center instead of the ER?