ER or urgent care

Aetna DC ER or Urgent Care

The right care when you need it

If your life isn’t in danger but you need medical care, it’s important to know where to go to get the care you need, for the lowest cost. But, if you have a life-threatening illness or injury, don’t wait — go to the nearest Emergency Room (ER), or dial 911.

Where to go for the care you need

Your doctor (primary care physician)

Aetna plans give you the freedom to visit any doctor who participates in the Aetna network, without a referral. Working with a primary care physician gives you a chance to visit a doctor who will get to know your personal health care needs, medical history and background.

Always visit your doctor first, if possible.

Walk-in retail clinics

  • Offer treatment for problems such as strep throat, ear infections, bronchitis and allergies
  • Cost for treatment is less than urgent care centers and ERs
  • Open extended business hours and evenings

Urgent care centers

  • Offer treatment for problems such as fever, sprains, and minor cuts and burns
  • Cost slightly more than walk-in clinics, but much less than the ER
  • Have extended evening, weekend and holiday hours


  • Use for life-threatening emergencies, such as chest pain, trouble breathing or severe bleeding
  • Have the highest cost for treatment
  • Open 24/7
  • Treat true emergencies first, often resulting in a long wait for non-urgent cases