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Health Plans Respond To Hurricane Florence

posted by AHIP

on September 14, 2018

Health insurance providers continue to monitor Hurricane Florence as the storm system officially made landfall Friday morning and moves along the East Coast. Officials predict nearly 5 million people will be impacted by significant rain. We are committed to helping those who will inevitably need it—in the days, weeks, and months ahead.

Health insurance providers serve more than 14 million people in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. We want residents in these communities to stay safe, and are committed to providing their community, their members, and their employees with support, guidance, and immediate access to care in the event of an emergency.

North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia have issued Emergency Declarations. Secretary Azar has also declared public health emergencies in the North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. These declarations give CMS beneficiaries and their healthcare providers and suppliers greater flexibility in meeting emergency health needs.

In the event of a natural disaster, insurance providers activate their emergency plans. In past storms like Florence, when people are in real need, health insurance providers have:

  • offered more flexibility by waiving certain out-of-network restrictions, to ensuring members affected by the disaster can receive health services no matter where they are
  • temporarily suspended rules for pharmacy refills so members can fill their prescriptions for longer periods of time and have access to the medications they need
  • waived reimbursement restrictions and prior medical authorizations, to ensure timely access to emergency care when they need immediate care
  • offered free telehealth services to patients impacted by the hurricane

For reference, the following states have issued bulletins to health insurance providers on state of emergency protocols during Hurricane Florence:

AHIP recommends that people impacted by Hurricane Florence contact their local health insurance provider for more information. This contact information can be found on their health plan member card or on their insurance provider’s website. Please visit the following plan pages for more details about specific plans:

Georgia:

North Carolina:

South Carolina:

Virginia:

For more information about how health insurance providers respond to natural disasters and emergencies, please see AHIP’s Emergency Preparedness Issue Brief.

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