Health insurers are responding to members impacted by Hurricane Harvey with solutions to expedite access to care and prescriptions, as well as donations to help rescue and recovery efforts.
“Just like their members, health plans are a part of their communities and deeply committed to the wellness and safety of those who live there,” America’s Health Insurance Plans tells FierceHealthcare. “When a community is impacted by a tragic, disastrous event like we’re seeing unfold with this storm, plans connect immediately with state and local officials to offer support and ensure those impacted have swift access to the healthcare, resources and medical services they need.”
Cigna has expanded access to its 24x7 telephone help line to those impacted, lifted prescription refill restrictions for customers in counties throughout South and Central Texas, and waived prior authorization requirements for acute medical care and behavioral health services in affected areas. Moreover, the Cigna Foundation is making a $200,000 donation to the American Red Cross, and the company has set up an internal website for its employees to also donate.
“Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the hurricane and hope that this donation will help them with their recovery,” says David Figliuzzi, executive director of the Cigna Foundation.
Aetna is allowing affected members to seek emergency care anywhere, as needed. The insurer is also letting impacted members to 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 affected by Hurricane Harvey,” says Mark T. Bertolini, Aetna chairman and chief executive, adding that the insurer is also extending claim and appeal filing times.
The Aetna Foundation donated a total of $250,000 to the American Red Cross, the Community Foundation of Greater Houston and to Team Rubicon, to support current and forthcoming disaster relief efforts. Through its Disaster Response matching gift program, the Aetna Foundation will match employees’ disaster relief donations dollar-for-dollar (up to $5,000 per donor per year) to any U.S.-based nonprofit providing hurricane-related disaster relief.
Anthem is letting impacted members refill lost or damaged prescriptions at any pharmacy, and has relaxed time limits for prior authorization, pre-certification or referral requirements. However, due to federal guidelines, the insurer cannot relax these requirements for those in Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D, Medicaid or Federal Employees Health Benefits Program members. “We hope you and your loved ones stay safe,” Anthem writes.
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 Texas is providing numbers to help impacted members, and says it can help them understand their benefits; find a doctor, hospital or dialysis center; refill prescription medications if they have Prime Therapeutics; and coordinate or transition their care. “If you've been affected by a natural disaster, we can help you,” the insurer writes.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and HMO Louisiana are offering early refills on medications for members with Express Scripts pharmacy benefits so they can get needed medications refilled early if they had to evacuate, lost their medications or have limited access to their pharmacy.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, which provides health care coverage for people across the country through its national BlueCard program, is expediting access to care to impacted members. The insurer is
also making a $25,000 contribution to the American Red Cross, and is matching dollar-for-dollar any donations that its employees make
to any 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization helping with the relief effort. Matching funds will be donated to the American Red Cross and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas Employee Fund.
“Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this devastating storm," says Andrew Dreyfus, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. “We hope our support will help as they begin to rebuild.”Do you know of others in the health and benefits industry who are helping out? Share your stories in the comment section below.