Carrier News

Hurricane Harvey Carrier Communications

As many of our agents and their clients and members struggle through the challenges of Hurricane Harvey, carriers have announced accommodations to those impacted. We hope that you and your family and your friends, colleagues, clients, members you serve and their families are safe and dry. This is a digest of carriers’ communications. We will update this article as we receive further communications.

BlueCross and BlueShield of Texas

[Kilpatrick Note: BCBS is developing formal accommodations. They confirmed with us via email that they will offer flexibility on new group submissions effective Sep 1, 2017 and to groups submitting renewal paperwork for Oct 1. We will publish their official communication as soon as we receive it. We expect anticipate accommodations.]


View Article

Support includes assisting health plan participants who may need to make alternate arrangements to ensure continuity of care and access to early prescription refills, as well as a free emotional-support line to help people who might be affected.

  • Help Finding a Network Care Provider, Early Refills:  Plan participants who need help finding a care provider in the UnitedHealthcare network or obtaining early prescription refills can call customer care at the number located on the back of their medical ID cards.
  • For plan participants who may have misplaced their medical ID cards, call 866-633-2446, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. (in the local time zone), Monday through Friday. People enrolled in employer-sponsored and individual health plans who have a smartphone can download the free Health4Me app, which provides instant access to their ID card, network care providers, their personal health benefits and more. The Health4Me app is available as a free download at the Apple iTunes App Store and the Android Market on Google Play.
  • Free Help Line:  Optum, a leading health and behavioral health services company, is offering a free emotional-support help line. The toll-free number, 866-342-6892, will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for as long as necessary. The service is free of charge and open to anyone. Specially trained Optum mental health specialists help people manage their stress and anxiety so they can continue to address their everyday needs. Callers may also receive referrals to community resources to help them with specific concerns, including financial and legal matters. Along with the toll-free help line, emotional-support resources and information are available online at


View Correspondence

SUBJECT:  Small group submission extensions due to hurricane harvey

STATES IMPACTED:  TX- Houston/Corpus Christi markets only

BACKGROUND: Specific counties in the Texas area have been declared a Federal disaster and are putting regulatory process in place to assist with insurance coverage. At this time, the legislation does not impact submissions however we know our customers in this market are impacted. We have made a business decision to extend our submission deadlines for this market only. We will continue to assess impacted markets as the storm develops.


Small group submissions

  • New business cases  requesting a 9/1/17 effective date
  • On renewal plan add/changes requesting  a 9/1/17 effective date

Extension Deadline: Friday 9/8/17

Houston/Corpus Christi market

  • Please note that no other business rules can be changed at this time. All SBC rules and business rules remain the same

If you receive questions from other markets , please let them know what their normal deadlines are. If they are concerned about the impact of the storm to their market, we are keeping all markets in review.

NOTE: Some markets may request a group exception when employees live in the Texas area but the group is sited in another state. We can allow a similar deadline for those situations but we prefer the sales offices request that extension under the normal extension process.  

Memorial Hermann

View Correspondence

On behalf of Memorial Hermann Health Plan, we wanted you to know that we are thinking of you and your family during this very difficult time. We are proud of how our community has come together and we salute all first responders and emergency personnel who have been working tirelessly to help those in need.

We wanted to share a few updates:

  • Memorial Hermann Health Plan offices remain closed, however limited teams working remotely all week until regular office hours are resumed on Sep 5.  Please continue to use all team email boxes for requests for your clients.
  • The August grace period will be extended to September 30, 2017; group administrators or brokers should make arrangements if payment will be delayed any further.
  • Renewal extensions for 9/1 effective dates through 9/30 for all required change documentation and/or option to extend plan year and move to 10/1 effective date
  • Please encourage members to use Teladoc as much as possible. Members should call 1-800-835-2362 or going online to See the attached flyer for more information.
  • As soon as our team is able, group maintenance and enrollment transactions will be completed with retroactive effective dates. In the meantime, please retain all receipts for claim submissions and reimbursements.
  • Members and dependents should continue to call their appropriate Customer Service number on back of the ID Card for benefits verifications and general coverage questions.
  • We have eased prescription refill parameters to allow our member’s easier access to needed pharmaceuticals.
  • We are accepting and processing authorizations though we will not require prior authorizations for our members needing medical care (emergent or non-emergent) or hospital admissions in any facility regardless of in network/out of network status during the storm and its immediate aftermath.
  • Memorial Hermann Sugar Land is temporarily closed due to Brazos River flood concerns. Memorial Hermann Orthopedic & Spine Hospital and Memorial Hermann – First Colony are also closed as they are currently inaccessible. All other major Memorial Hermann hospitals are open and seeing patients.


View Article

[Kilpatrick Note: Cigna has pledged to be lenient on new group submission deadlines and to turnaround quotes as quickly as possible.]


A free telephone help line is available around the clock, 24/7, to all residents affected by the hurricane for support through October 15, 2017. You can speak to a qualified clinician about potentially difficult situations such as how to cope with loss, anxiety, stress or other issues resulting from the hurricane.

To access the help line:

If you are not a Cigna customer, please call 866.912.1687.

Cigna customers, please call the telephone number on your Cigna ID card or 800.244.6224.


At this time, you do not need to obtain prior authorization for acute medical care and behavioral health services.

For Cigna customers with pharmacy benefits, you may get an emergency refill from your local pharmacy through September 22, 2017.


For help transferring your prescription or if you have any questions, please call Cigna Customer Service at 800.244.6224 or the number on your Cigna ID card.


View Correspondence

The members of our mutual customers have been affected by Hurricane Harvey. Many people have had to leave or have lost their homes. We’re making it easier for members affected by Hurricane Harvey to refill prescriptions and access employee assistance and behavioral health programs. We’re also offering members in affected areas additional time to file appeals, and we’ve communicated this information to customers.

We are monitoring the situation to ensure our members have access to medical providers. Please remember that our affected members can seek urgent or emergency care anywhere, as needed.

Helpful resources

The Aetna article features helpful information on Aetna’s coverage policies in the event of a natural disaster, including prescription refills, behavioral health support and where to find care.

Article: Aetna is ready to help in a natural disaster

Press Release: Aetna Offers Assistance to Members Affected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana.

This entry was posted in Carrier News and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.