Just as they are doing for victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana, insurers are helping those impacted by the storm Irma, which ravaged Caribbean islands and is now damaging parts of Florida and south Georgia.
Members of the trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans “send their support and wishes for safety and swift recovery.”
“Health plans are coming together with hospital systems, pharmacies, and first responders to ensure people can get the care and medications they need,” writes Rashi Venkataraman, executive director for prevention and population health with the trade group’s clinical affairs team. “They continue to closely monitor the situation on the ground and provide their community, their members, and their employees with support, guidance, and immediate access to care.”
All Florida Blue members through Saturday can get an emergency 30-day supply at any in-network pharmacy across the nation. Any evacuees due to Irma who need a doctor for a non-emergency can use Teladoc, at 855-221-0370, to connect to a U.S. board-certified internist, state-licensed family practitioner, or pediatrician—free of charge, the carrier says.
Pregnant evacuees who go into labor can show their Florida Blue member ID card to any facility and their services will be covered. If any person’s health plan requires them to get prior approval before getting care, the insurer will cover it without pre-approval as long as plan members show their Florida Blue member ID card first. For emergencies, people are to call 911, and the insurer will cover emergency care at in-network levels.
“At Florida Blue, we care deeply about our friends and neighbors affected by Hurricane Irma,” the company writes on its website.
Aetna is allowing affected members to seek emergency care anywhere, as needed. The insurer is also letting impacted members refill their prescriptions early, and those who use Aetna’s mail-order pharmacy can either get a prescription at an alternate delivery location or refill a prescription that may have been lost, damaged or destroyed.
Aetna is also helping members who have been evacuated from their homes find care and behavioral health support, among other services. For all of those impacted — regardless of whether or not they are Aetna members — Aetna has opened its Resources for Living services at 1-888-AETNA-EAP (1-888-238-6232) for telephonic consultation to help cope with the emotional impact of this event or for assistance with finding resources such as available shelters, government resources and referrals.
“Our thoughts are with those who are preparing for and will be affected by Hurricane Irma,” says Mark T. Bertolini, Aetna chairman and chief executive. “We will proactively ensure that our members, customers and employees are able to access the care they need as they face challenges brought on by these natural disasters.”
Cigna has expanded access to its 24x7 telephone help line to those impacted, lifted prescription refill restrictions for customers in counties throughout Florida and waived prior authorization requirements for acute medical care and behavioral health services in affected areas.
For group disability insurance customers, Cigna will extend, as necessary, any claim filing deadlines for providers, insureds, certificate holders or enrollees. The company will also forgive Florida customers’ late payment of premiums in September.
“Once again we are witnessing a horrific natural disaster that is taking a terrible toll and disrupting millions of lives,” says Scott Evelyn, president of Cigna’s South Florida market. “We’re focused on the well-being of our customers and want to make it as easy as possible for them to access the care and medicines they need during this stressful and difficult time.”
Humana is supporting its impacted Medicare Advantage members by covering Medicare Parts A and B services and supplemental Part C plan benefits at non-network hospitals and other medical facilities; waiving all requirements for primary care physician referrals; providing enrollees with the same cost-sharing they would get at an in-network facility; and removing prescription drug limitations such as “refill too soon” rejection notices that prevent replacing lost medications.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is expediting access to care for members who live in Florida. The insurers is allowing early refills of prescription medications; waiving referral, authorization and pre-certification requirements for medical, pharmacy and dental services; and processing claims for services rendered by out-of-network providers at the member's in-network level of benefits
“Like all Americans, we're monitoring the path of this storm with deep concern,” says Andrew Dreyfus, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. “Our focus is on ensuring that our members can get the care they need, when they need it, whether they've had to evacuate or they’re staying in their homes. It’s critical that our members have continuity of care when dealing with such a devastating event.”
Sunshine Health, Envolve PeopleCare and LifeShare have joined forces to offer a 24-hour toll-free crisis hotline at 1-877-941-8079 for anyone affected by Hurricane Irma, whether or not they are a Sunshine Health member. The line is staffed by health care professionals who can offer one-on-one counseling as well as referrals to additional local resources, and Spanish-speaking services are available.
LiveHealthOnline, a mobile app and website for non-emergency health conditions, is making access to live doctor visits and psychology visits available at no charge for the people of Florida affected by Irma, as well as Harvey. The free, unlimited visit offers will be available through Dec. 31.
“Given what we know about the projected path of Hurricane Irma we are making online visits available immediately to people in Florida but will be prepared to activate free access to LiveHealth Online in other states that may be impacted,” says John Jesser, president of LiveHealth Online. “After the devastation in Texas and Louisiana, we want to make sure the people of Florida who may be displaced or not be able to get to their regular healthcare providers can get access to quality care on their smartphone or tablet at no charge should they need it.”