You are here: Home Managing Your ... Medical ... Summary
Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.

Medical Emergency: How To Be Prepared


Next »


To prepare in case of a medical emergency can save you stress and money, and may ultimately save your life.

Preparation involves a series of easy-to-do steps. You do not have to take all these steps at once. At least read through them to get an overview. We provide a prioritizer to list the steps you decide to take. You can number the steps with your order of priority. A push of a button reorder the list to your priority. Consider doing one or two steps a day. To be sure you are prepared, it is helpful to give yourself a deadline to complete teh steps. 


  • The types of emergency care available near your home, where you work, and any other place in which you spend substantial amounts of time. 
    • Think about which facility to go to for various events. For instance, a small medical problem or a life challenging emergency. In general, available alternatives include:
  • With respect to emergency rooms:
    • Think about which one to go to if you have a life threatening emergency. 
      • With respect to payment:
        • It is preferable to choose an ER in a hospital where your insurance plan has a relationship and where your doctor works. He or she can oversee your care.  If you have a managed care type health insurance plan, look for the hospital with the most doctors in your insurer's network.
        • If you have a managed care type health insurance policy, whether you need pre-authorization from your insurance company before you obtain emergency services, and if so, how to get it. If your policy requires pre-authorization, and you don't get it, you will likely have to pay the bill yourself.  To learn more, click here.
        • It is advisable to have your insurance card with you at all timesIt helps to speed processes if you have your insurance card with you. The card contains both your i.d. number and the number to call in case the insurer has to be contacted.
        • If you do not have health insurance, an ER must treat an emergency whether you can afford to pay or not.
      • With respect to wait times and experience: Consider which ERs may be known to be less crowded than others or that have more experience treating certain emergencies. (For example, city hospitals generally have more experience treating gun shot wounds than private hospitals. Sorry to say, your health condition does not protect you from life's other medical emergencies.)
    • The financial and legal steps to take now so you are prepared in the event of a medical emergency. See: How To Handle Economic And Legal Affairs In The Event Of An Emergency
    • If you have underage children and cannot care for them because of a medical emergency, learn what to do by clicking here.  
  • How and what to communicate to first emergency responders about your health condition, current status, and medications you are taking.
    • In case you become unable to communicate, wear a medical i.d. alert around your neck or on your wrist. to let first emergency responders know about your medical condition in case you are unable to communicate. (For information, see: Consider Wearing A Medical Bracelet Or Necklace)
    • Carry in your wallet or purse information about your medical history, treatment and/or medications. Consider carrying the information on a computer flash drive or card that fits in your wallet. See: What To Carry In Your Wallet Or Purse All The Time
    • Sign up for an app for your mobile phone such as WindowsPhone offsite link. (free). This app tells first responders your blood type, allergies, medications and emergency contacts. 
    • Put a notice on your front door or over your bed if you do not want to be brought back if your heart or lungs stop (rescucitated). See: What To Do In Case You Have An Emergency At Home And Cannot Communicate
    • Place an entry on your mobile phone for "ICE" - an acronym for "in case of emergency". 
      • List the phone numbers of the person or people to notify in case of emergency. 
      • You can either list the entry just as "ICE" or you can add a name. For example, "ICE1-Charlie." 
      • Ideally, your emergency contact(s) knows your medical history, allergies, and how to contact your doctor(s). 
  • While thinking of emergency situations:
    • It is worth the investment of a few minutes of your time to consider How To Plan In Case Of A Disaster that affects your ability to get medications or a treatment facility. The same items can be used as an emergency tote bag "just in case" you have to go to the hospital.
    • Prepare for medical emergencies that may come up during travel.
      • If no local doctor is available, consider talking with a doctor on line. For instance, through NowClinic offsite link, an endeavor of Optum Health that lets you speak with a doctor for up to 10 minutes for a small fee ($45 in 2013). 
      • See: Emergency Preparations If You Travel


  • Keep in mind that if you have a choice about what time of day to go to an emergency room, go during the least busy time.  As a general matter, emergency rooms are slowest between 3 and 9 AM.  They tend to be busiest after 6:00 PM. Of course, if your situation is urgent, do not wait.  Emergency rooms decide which patient to treat next on a triage system. This means the most urgent patients are treated first, no matter the order in which they arrived.
  • While discussing emergencies, be sure to protect your property and pocketbook in the event of a loss with Homeowners Insurance and Automobile Insurance. Objective, unbiased information about what to look for, how to minimize cost, and how to file claims, is contained in Homeowners Insurance and Automobile Insurance. 

To Learn More

More Information

Travel 101

Related Charts


Please share how this information is useful to you. 0 Comments


Post a Comment Have something to add to this topic? Contact Us.

Characters remaining:

  • Allowed markup: <a> <i> <b> <em> <u> <s> <strong> <code> <pre> <p>
    All other tags will be stripped.