Help with Questions about Hurricane Harvey and Health Coverage

Hurricane Harvey will affect Texans’ access to health care in many ways. People may need to replace medications lost or forgotten during an evacuation or damaged by flooding.  When displaced, people may need health care from out-of-network providers.  Doctors, clinics, hospitals, and insurers may be flooded or without power, and unable to file or process requests for prior authorization of health care or referrals to specialists. These are just a couple of examples of how a disaster like Harvey will make it challenging for patients to get the health care they need.
Federal and state agencies have issued guidance for Medicaid, CHIP, Medicare and private insurance plans to help ensure that people who have been affected by the disaster can continue to get needed health care.  We’ve compiled links to agency guidance below.  Also, many health insurance companies have information intended for people affected by Hurricane Harvey on their websites, including how to get a replacement member ID card, specific phone numbers to call for assistance, restrictions that will be waived, etc.

  • Texas Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Plan

The Texas Health and Human Service Commission has posted high-level information about Harvey-related changes to Medicaid and SNAP online.  It is also sending a more detailed Frequently Asked Questions document for Harvey-related information to Medicaid managed care plans.  The FAQ from August 31, 2017 is available here.  HHSC  updates these FAQs daily.  To receive these daily FAQs update emails, go to this link and sign up for “HHSC CHIP/Children’s Medicaid Information” emails.

  • Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D Plans

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service memo dated August 29, 2017 about relaxing Medicare-related pharmacy and provider access requirements

  • Private health coverage overseen by the Texas Department of Insurance

(Plans overseen by TDI include all Marketplace and individual market insurance bought directly from an insurer and not through an employer, coverage through HMOs, and many of the plans offered by smaller businesses.  Plans overseen by TDI will have the letters “TDI” or “DOI” printed on their insurance ID cards.)  Texas Department of Insurance bulletins (instructions to insurers) related to Hurricane Harvey dated August 26, 2017.  CPPP posted a summary of the health insurance-related bulletins here.

  • Job-based health insurance overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor

(This generally includes plans from larger employers, sometimes called “self-insured” plans.  Insurance ID cards will NOT have the letters “TDI” or “DOI” printed on them.) Department of Labor’s FAQ dated August 29, 2017
We will update this post as needed, when new agency guidance comes out.  If we have missed relevant guidance, please email Stacey at 

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