Your medicines and medical records may be the last thing on your mind when a wildfire nears your home, or a hurricane approaches, or flood waters rush closer and closer. Once you are on safer ground, however, you’ll realize you need them. Your doctor’s office or local pharmacy may not be available during a natural disaster, but your insurance company may be able to help.
Aetna has a long track record of stepping up to help its members caught in a natural disaster. Aetna’s business resiliency team keeps an eye on developing hurricanes, wildfires that are threatening communities, and other disasters. The team also monitors the news for events that strike unexpectedly, such as tornadoes. Aetna’s team is ready to move immediately, so members have one less thing to worry about.
Each disaster is different, of course. Aetna changes its normal policies during a disaster depending on many factors – the disaster’s effect on our members, the severity of the disaster’s impact on the local health care system, the geography, and any local, state or federal emergency request or declaration.
Replacing prescription medicines
Letting members refill prescriptions early is the most common way to help members during a disaster. This action can replace medicines that were lost, destroyed or left behind in an evacuation. Aetna’s pharmacy customer service teams are always ready to help a member caught in one of these situations.
If prescription mail order delivery is affected, Aetna can help members get their medicines at a local pharmacy. And if a member’s prescription had run out, Aetna can help them find an urgent care clinic where they can get a new prescription if needed.
Going to the doctor
If a widespread disaster forces doctor’s offices, clinics and even hospitals to close, Aetna can help members find care. Urgent care centers and walk-in clinics can handle many such issues. In some situations members may be able to see a doctor online through a telemedicine service. Aetna also may waive normal requirements, such as precertification for some services, if doctors can’t follow normal processes during a disaster.
Caring for your emotional well-being
Members can always access the behavioral health services that are part of their plan to help them cope with a disaster. In some circumstances, Aetna will open the behavioral health support of its Employee Assistance Program to everyone in the area affected by the disaster, whether or not they are members.
Depending on the disaster, Aetna may also extend deadlines for things like filing claim appeals.
If you have an electronic health record set up through your insurer, hospital system or an online service, share that with any doctor caring for you during a disaster. If you don’t have access to your medical history, Aetna can provide physicians with claims information that will help them treat displaced members.
How do I get help?
If you’re an Aetna member and find yourself needing medicine or care during a disaster, call us. (If you’re not an Aetna member, check with your insurer.) Our customer service representatives can tell you what policy changes are already in place to help with the current disaster. We’re happy to help.