There are always things to consider on the Gulf Coast when making preparations for hurricane season each year. One of the many questions we receive is, “how will a hurricane affect my health plan and health services”? The answer depends on your individual situation. First, you should always follow the recommendations of the local government. If a storm threatens where you live and the local government recommends evacuation, you should evacuate. Being in a safe environment is the most critical step you can take.
When it comes to your actual health plan (Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage), all health plans are required to have “emergency benefits”. If a medical emergency arises and you are temporarily displaced by a storm, go to the closest emergency room. With some plans, you are not allowed to have non-emergency services outside of your network or without a referral but emergency services are covered. If you have a question of what is considered an emergency service, contact your health plan for guidance. Also, at the first sign that a storm is a threat to your area you should make sure your medications are refilled before the rush that always occurs with a hurricane.
It is also important to note, many of the medical equipment companies have their own policies regarding these type of events. Contact your medical equipment provider before the need arises to understand how they will assist you.
Hopefully this information was helpful and please remember to have a plan and know your options before an event occurs.