Starting January 1, 2017, employees and their dependents with Blue Cross health care plans can visit a retail health center on a walk-in basis, close to where they live or work. Retail health centers are capable of managing minor illnesses and injuries, as well as basic, preventive health care. The centers will be located in several drug store chains and other retail settings. In addition, the centers will also offer extended hours, which is especially convenient when an employee’s own primary care doctor isn’t available. When visiting these health centers, employees and their dependents will have the same cost-sharing amounts, like office visit copayments, coinsurance and deductibles, as they do for an office visit. The medical services at the centers will be provided by certified nurse practitioners and physician assistants, who are overseen by a board-certified doctor. Common retail health center services include treatment for:
- Minor illness and injuries, such as sore throat or earache
- Adult and child vaccines, such as flu and pneumonia
Retail health centers shouldn’t replace ongoing care, chronic condition management or regular checkups. They’re also not appropriate for true emergencies, such as chest pains, major broken bones or sudden dizziness. In a life-threatening emergency, members should always go to the nearest emergency facility or call 911. On January 1, 2017, employees will be able to search for in-network retail health centers using Find a Doctor on bcbsm.com. The centers will also be listed on the Blue Cross Blue Shield Associations’ website at bcbs.com. For more information about the services covered at the retail health centers, employees can log into their bcbsm.com account. Blue Care Network, which has been contracting with retail health centers since 2014, will see no change in services for 2017.