Your Care Options

Urgent Care Center

If you can't get a same-day appointment with your doctor, urgent care centers are a good back-up option for issues that just can't wait. Their aim is to treat patients quickly and efficiently. Problems like a cut finger, sprained ankle or severe cough are good reasons to visit urgent care.

In North Carolina alone, there are more than 250 dedicated urgent care clinics (such as FastMed™ Urgent Care). Most are open seven days a week and offer extended hours, including weekends and evenings. Some areas even have around-the-clock urgent care options.

Use our tool to find urgent care options near you—then add that information to your Quick Reference Guide.

Good choice for:

  • Preventive care
  • Minor health issues
  • Moderate health issues

What to expect

Typically, you'll wait 30 minutes or less to see a nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or doctor at an urgent care center—and spend 1 hour or less in total for a visit.5 That's longer than the average visit to your doctor, but still much better than a trip to the ER.

The same is true of costs. The average Blue Cross NC member will pay $62 for an urgent care visit.4 That's more than the copayment or coinsurance you'll pay for a doctor visit under most health plans. Yet it's quite a deal compared to the emergency room, where the average member will pay about 10 times that amount!4

Convenience care centers or retail clinics

For minor health issues, convenience care centers are another back-up option. These are walk-in clinics with extended hours, where you can get basic care from a nurse practitioner. Some are even housed within retail stores. They can treat common illnesses like sinus infections, colds, flu, allergies, urinary tract infections or sore throats.

As the name implies, these clinics are convenient. Because the health problems are minor, a typical visit takes just 15 to 20 minutes.7 And the average Blue Cross NC member cost is only $24.4

NOTE: If you do visit an urgent care or convenience care center, let your doctor know about it. That way, your medical record can be updated and stay accurate.

Categories for Medical Attention


  • Sore or strep throat
  • Urinary tract and bladder infections
  • Nasal congestion
  • Cough, colds and flu
  • Earaches and ear infections
  • Minor fevers
  • Allergy symptoms
  • Skin issues (including rashes, ringworm and chicken pox)
  • Pink eye
  • Head lice
  • Insect bites
  • Minor burns, cuts and scrapes
  • Sprains and strains
  • Back or neck pain


  • Migraines
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Severe cough
  • Fevers
  • Asthma attacks (mild to moderate)
  • Eye irritation
  • Minor reactions to medications (itchiness, skin rashes, hives)
  • Animal bites
  • Wounds requiring stitches


  • Chest pain
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Severe trouble breathing
  • Suddenly not able to speak, see, walk or move
  • Suddenly weak or drooping on one side of the body
  • Pain in the arm or jaw
  • Coughing or throwing up blood
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Severe burns or deep wounds
  • Head trauma
  • Major broken bones
  • Seizures or convulsions