As hurricane season approaches, it’s crucial to be prepared to safeguard your health and well-being. For Medicaid and Medicare members, knowing how to communicate with your provider during an emergency and understanding what services are covered can provide peace of mind during a natural disaster. Here’s a guide to help you get ready for a hurricane and make the most of your Medicaid and Medicare benefits.

Preparing for the Hurricane

Create an Emergency Plan: Know Your Evacuation Route: Identify the nearest shelters and plan your evacuation route. Share this plan with family members and caregivers.
Emergency Contacts: Keep a list of emergency contacts, including your healthcare providers and insurance companies. Make sure this list is easily accessible.
Assemble an Emergency Kit: Medications: Ensure you have at least a two-week supply of all necessary medications. Keep them in their original containers with clear labels.
Medical Supplies: Stock up on essential medical supplies like glucose meters, syringes, and wound care items.
Basic Necessities: Include bottled water, non-perishable food, flashlights, batteries, first-aid supplies, and important documents.
Safeguard Your Health Information:
Medical Records: Keep a copy of your medical records, including your medication list, allergies, and healthcare provider contacts.
Insurance Information: Have your Medicaid or Medicare card readily available, along with any other relevant insurance documents.

Communicating with Your Medicaid or Medicare Provider
Know How to Reach Your Provider: Customer Service: Make a note of your Medicaid or Medicare provider’s customer service number. Most providers have 24/7 hotlines for emergencies.
Online Portals: Familiarize yourself with your provider’s online portal where you can find information, request services, and communicate with your provider.
During the Hurricane: Emergency Assistance: If you need immediate medical assistance, contact emergency services first. For non-emergencies, reach out to your Medicaid or Medicare provider to understand your coverage and get help.
Post-Hurricane Communication: Follow-Up Care: After the hurricane, contact your provider to arrange any follow-up care or to replace lost or damaged medical equipment.
Updates: Stay informed through your provider’s website or customer service line for updates on services and coverage during the recovery period.

What is Covered During a Hurricane?
Medication Refills and Replacements:
Early Refills: During disaster declarations, Medicaid and Medicare often allow for early refills of medications. This ensures you have an adequate supply without waiting for your next refill date.
Lost Medications: If your medications are lost or damaged during the hurricane, your provider can authorize replacements. Contact your pharmacy or provider for assistance.
Medical Services: Emergency Care: Emergency medical services are covered under Medicaid and Medicare. Ensure you seek care from approved providers to guarantee coverage.
Transportation: Some plans cover transportation to medical facilities during emergencies. Check with your provider to understand your benefits.
Medical Equipment: Replacement of Equipment: If durable medical equipment (such as oxygen tanks or wheelchairs) is damaged or lost during a hurricane, your provider can assist with replacements.
Temporary Supplies: Your provider may cover the cost of temporary medical supplies if you are displaced and need immediate assistance.

Preparing for a hurricane involves more than just securing your home; it’s about ensuring your health and safety during and after the storm. By understanding your Medicaid and Medicare coverage, assembling an emergency kit, and knowing how to communicate with your provider, you can be better prepared to handle any challenges that arise. Stay informed, stay prepared, and stay safe this hurricane season.

For more information on hurricane preparedness and your coverage, contact your Medicaid or Medicare provider or visit their website.