Dealing with Hurricane Irma and getting access to health care

(This article is posted in both English and Spanish.)

As we deal with the effects of Hurricane Irma, NPF would like to share some important health care updates for affected families. 

Currently, millions of people in the southeastern U.S. live in or have been evacuated from counties where states of emergencies have been declared. 

Here’s the latest information from each state that may be impacted by Hurricane Irma, along with resources to help ensure that you are able to access health care during this emergency. We will update this page with new information as we receive it.  

(If you are having trouble accessing health care or need to find a provider, as always you are encouraged to contact our Patient Navigation Center.)

Florida

A state of emergency has been declared for all counties in Florida. 

Important resources if you live in Florida

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has issued a notice to all health insurers, managed care organizations and other health entities. This notice reminds insurers that they must allow Florida residents to refill their prescriptions early if they live in all 67 counties, as designated by the Governor’s Executive Order for Hurricane Irma.

Georgia

Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal has issued a State of Emergency executive order to include 94 counties

Important resources if you live in one of the counties affected in Georgia

Georgia’s Insurance Commissioner has issued a press release about Hurricane Irma, but has not yet addressed health insurance directly. 

If you are having difficulty reaching your insurance company, call the Commissioner’s Consumer Services Hotline at 800-656-2298. Phone lines are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

South Carolina

South Carolina has issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency in all 46 counties. 

Important resources if you live in South Carolina

If you have questions about health insurance or have a claim, you should call the Department’s Office of Consumer Services at 800-768-3467, Monday through Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. You can also email the office.

North Carolina

A state of emergency has been issued for all 100 counties in North Carolina. The North Carolina Insurance Commissioner issued a bulletin stating that all health benefit plans must allow residents to fill or refill their prescriptions early during a state of emergency.

Puerto Rico 

Hurricane Irma has already devastated parts of Puerto Rico, leaving many without power. For information on weather updates, emergency response resources and open pharmacies, visit Healthcare Ready.

An important resource for everyone in need of life-saving medicines

Healthcare Ready has activated its free, interactive RxOpen map that show open and closed pharmacies in Puerto Rico and Florida (as of this communication – updates to the site will occur as more information is provided). Citizens and first responders are encouraged to use this map as an initial resource, and to call their pharmacy to ensure their specific medication is in stock.

Healthcare Ready is an independent emergency response and relief organization established after Hurricane Katrina. Healthcare Ready, created by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), has been working with PhRMA companies, health care providers, transportation providers, federal, state and local governments, and many others to identify critical needs in the regions affected by disasters. Team members are working nearly around-the-clock to help the pharmaceutical industry provide relief to people in need. 

Real-time updates can be found by following Healthcare Ready on Twitter at @HC_Ready.

Photo credit: A woman stocks sandbags in Kissimmee, Florida. REUTERS/Gregg Newton.

Driving Discovery, Creating Community

This year, we’re celebrating 50 years of driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. See how far we’ve come with this timeline of NPF’s history. But there’s still plenty to do, and we can’t do it without you! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funding to promote research into better treatments and a cure by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or even create your own DIY event. Contact our Patient Navigation Center for free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today! Together, we will find a cure.

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