Health Insurance Provider Responses To Ongoing Wildfires And Hurricane Activity

posted by AHIP

on September 17, 2020

Health insurance providers have been on the frontline in the response to the ongoing wildfires in the West as well as the recent hurricanes that hit the Gulf states. Their efforts reflect the continuing commitment to ensure the safety and health of all Americans.

Aetna is offering resources to members who have been affected by the wildfires in Ventura, Los Angeles, and Butte counties in California.

Aetna members can refill their prescriptions early, if needed. Members 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.

In addition to helping with prescription refills, Aetna professionals who have experience dealing with traumatic events are also available to help. The company has opened its Resources for Living services to those affected by the wildfires, regardless of whether they are Aetna members or not. Individuals can call 1-833-327-AETNA (1-833-327-2386) for assistance with finding available shelters, accessing government resources and seeking referrals or help to cope with the emotional impact of the wildfires.

Anthem Blue Cross has revised its medical, vision and pharmacy guidelines and is offering additional support to help ensure its members affected by the ongoing wildfires have access to essential prescription medications and other health care related services.

The following benefit guidelines are effective August 18, 2020 through September 17, 2020, or until further notice, and pertain to Anthem members affected by the wildfires in California, including emergency personnel who are Anthem members.

  • Anthem will allow a 30-day emergency prescription refill of maintenance medication for affected members.
  • Anthem will allow affected members to request replacement of durable medical equipment and supplies.
  • Anthem will waive the notification time limit of medical necessity reviews for affected members.
  • Anthem will extend the deadlines for filing claims for affected members.
  • Anthem will provide a 30-day leniency period for affected members to make their premium payment due dates.
  • Anthem will allow members to access out-of-network providers if an in-network provider is unavailable due to the wildfires or if the member is out of the area due to displacement.
  • Anthem will allow affected members to get a replacement pair of lost or broken glasses or contacts at no cost.

Blue Shield of California is offering the following services to members (except Medicare) affected by the ongoing wildfires:

  • allowing the immediate refill of prescriptions for members in mandatory evacuation zones even if they are not due to be refilled.
  • providing free access through Magellan Health to resources, materials and counseling services through its dedicated hotline: (800) 327-7451.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation has committed $5 million to meet the needs of communities rebuilding in the wake of Hurricane Laura. This $5 million includes two $1 million grants to organizations that will make funds immediately available for relief and response in the Lake Charles area. The remainder of the grant funds will be distributed through the Foundation’s Community Crisis and Disaster Response grant fund.

 Health Net is offering special assistance to its members affected by the ongoing wildfires. This assistance includes providing access to:

  • Essential prescription medications
  • Services to help cope with grief, loss, stress or trauma
  • Healthcare providers through video and telephonic medical appointments

Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon is donating $250,000 to the American Red Cross, the United Way of Jackson County and other organizations.

Regence has more than 925,000 members across Oregon, including more than 47,000 members located in the latest evacuation zones. The health plan has a particularly close connection to Medford – a community significantly impacted by current wildfires – where 23,400 members currently reside in an evacuation zone, and approximately 200 Regence employees who work at the company’s service center at 2057 Commerce Dr.

In response to the wildfires, Regence has committed these initial gifts to the following organizations:

  • $100,000 to the American Red Cross in Oregon, which will support relief efforts statewide.
  • $100,000 to organizations that support first responders and communities statewide
  • $50,000 to the United Way of Jackson County

Additionally, Regence has put emergency measures in place to ensure that health plan members who are affected by wildfires throughout the state can get the care they need. Those include:

  • Reaching out to our members in affected areas who are in our existing care management programs to ensure they have the support they need.
  • Waiving restrictions on most pharmacy refills and enabling members to fill needed prescriptions at any pharmacy regardless of network.
  • Replacing medical equipment for fully insured and Medicare members that was destroyed by fire or left behind when people evacuated.
  • Allowing fully insured and Medicare members who have been evacuated to get emergency medical care out of network at in-network rates.


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