Anthem Blue Cross Promotes Alternatives to Expensive Emergency Room Visits

Looking for cheaper alternatives to the emergency room? There are urgent care centers and retail health clinics throughout California that may be all you need. And the state’s largest for-profit health insurer says it has a quick way to find them online. Anthem Blue Cross has launched its California ER Alternative Finder that allows customers to plug in addresses or Zip Codes through Google Maps to locate nearby medical providers. Anthem, hoping to counter exorbitant emergency room costs, wants to persuade policyholders to use the less expensive options to treat sprained ankles, animal bites, mild asthma and other non-emergency medical ailments. The Woodland Hills insurer said anyone can use its online application, but only clinics that take its insurance are listed on the website. People with other health plans must ask providers about costs.

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