Recognizing the severe toll Hurricane Maria has taken on Puerto Rico communities already distressed following Hurricane Irma, health and well-being company Humana Inc., announced that it has initiated a series of disaster relief efforts to assist its members, employees and Puerto Rico communities.
In addition, the Humana Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Humana, announced it will provide a $250,000 immediate grant to the American Red Cross to help the nonprofit organization deliver vital services, including food, shelter, and related disaster relief, to Puerto Ricans affected by Hurricanes Maria and Irma.
“It’s important to Humana that our employees, health plan members, and the people of Puerto Rico know we are concerned for their health and well-being,” said Humana president and chief executive officer Bruce Broussard. “We cannot underestimate the long-term toll of multiple severe storms like Maria and Irma, and we are delegating resources and putting in place measures to help people during the recovery period.”
Among those measures, Humana has opened its toll-free crisis intervention hotline and counseling services beyond employees and members to include any person who may need assistance in areas impacted by Maria and Irma. Counselors and work/life specialists are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-866-440-6556 to provide free, confidential assistance to anyone needing help and support in coping with the disaster and its aftermath. Assistance is available in both English and Spanish.
Humana also has taken these additional steps:
· For all affected members, Humana has suspended referrals and prior authorization requirements for acute, post-acute, outpatient, and physician services.
· Humana is providing affected members who need to seek care out-of-network in Puerto Rico with the same benefits they would get from an in-network health care provider or facility.
· Humana health plan members in affected areas who have prescription coverage can obtain early refills of their medications without authorization from their physicians or Humana.
“We recognize the severe impact that the recent hurricanes have had on so many fellow Puerto Ricans, including our members, employees, health care provider partners, brokers, and employer clients, who are in need of our resources and support,” said Earl Harper, regional president of Medicare for Humana in Puerto Rico. “We want them to know that we will work tirelessly to support them at this critical time."
Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm, leaving widespread destruction and knocking out power to most of the island, which was still reeling from damage and power outages caused by Hurricane Irma earlier this month.
The American Red Cross, recipient of the Humana Foundation donation, is one of the organizations already mobilizing to offer disaster relief in Puerto Rico.
“We know there is much to be done to help Puerto Rico recover from these storms, and we hope this donation from the Humana Foundation will help provide quick relief to the people there,” said interim Humana Foundation executive director Pattie Dale Tye. “Our hearts go out to the island residents who have endured so much in recent days.”
Humana Medicare and commercial members with questions about services available to them should call the toll-free phone number on the back of their Humana ID card.