Accessing Health Care During and After Hurricanes Irma and Harvey

National Psoriasis Foundation Shares Information for Those Effected by Hurricanes

Portland, Ore. (September 8, 2017) —The National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) is sharing insight into guidance for accessing appropriate medical care for those effected by hurricanes Irma and Harvey.

Currently, millions of Americans live in or have been evacuated from counties where states of emergencies have been declared. Many will not be able to return home for weeks or months, and will need to refill prescriptions or seek medical care during this time. The following resources are available to help those who have been effected by the hurricanes access appropriate health care services.

If you live in a state impacted by Hurricane Irma or Harvey, here is the latest information that may help you access health care.

A state of emergency has been declared for all counties in Florida. The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has issued a notice to all health insurers, managed care organizations and other health entities reminding insurers that they must allow Florida residents to refill their prescriptions early if they live in any of the counties declared in a state of emergency as designated by the Governor’s Executive Order.

Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal has issued a state of emergency for 94 counties across Georgia. Additionally, Georgia’s Insurance Commissioner has issued a press release about Hurricane Irma, but has not addressed health insurance directly.

Patients may want to contact their insurance companies to understand what benefits will be available to them should they need to evacuate. If patients have difficulty reaching their insurance company, they should call the Commissioner’s Consumer Services Hotline at 800-656-2298 for advice. Phone lines are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

South Carolina
South Carolina issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency for all 46 counties. If patients have questions about their health insurance or have a claim, they 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. Patients can also email the office.

North Carolina
Governor Roy Cooper has declared a state of emergency 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 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.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has issued a disaster declaration for select counties in the areas affected by Hurricane Harvey.

The Texas Department of Insurance has issued guidance to health insurers waiving out-of-network penalties and restrictions for patients who live in the counties covered by the disaster declaration; extending claim-filing deadlines for providers; and waiving pre-authorization, referrals, notification of hospital admissions and medical-necessity reviews for enrollees. The guidance also states that

Resource for Everyone in Need of Life Saving Medicines

Healthcare Ready has activated its free, interactive RxOpen map that displays open and closed pharmacies in Puerto Rico and Florida. Updates to the site will occur as 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.

If patients experience any trouble accessing health care or need to find provider who treats psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, the NPF Patient Navigation Center is available to help. The Patient Navigation Center is available Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Pacific time.


About the National Psoriasis Foundation

Serving its community through more than 50 years of patient support, advocacy, research funding, and education, the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) is the world’s leading nonprofit fighting for individuals with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. The NPF mission is to drive efforts to cure psoriatic disease and dramatically improve the lives of more than 8 million Americans affected by this chronic immune-mediated disease. As part of that effort, NPF created its Patient Navigation Center to offer personalized assistance to everyone with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. To date, NPF has funded more than $21 million in research grants and fellowships that help drive discoveries that may lead to more and better treatments and ultimately a cure. Learn more at