Skip to main content

Getting Care and Prescriptions During a Natural Disaster

The worst time to realize you should have put together a disaster plan is when disaster strikes. We’re here to help you make a resolution to come up with your disaster plan. That includes figuring out how to get Medicare-covered services and medications during an emergency.

During a major natural disaster or emergency, a lot can happen. You may need to leave your house or possibly go to another state. You may lose or forget your prescription drugs or your Medicare card. Your durable medical supplies could be damaged. Or you may need to see a doctor. Here are some guidelines to help you stay prepared.

Need to see a doctor…

If you have Original Medicare, you can visit any doctor who accepts Medicare across the U.S. Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) (TTY: 1-877-486-2048) to get more information about seeing doctors during a disaster or emergency.

Many plans change their rules when a disaster hits.

Contact your plan as soon as possible to find out if there are other changes in plan rules and to find when the emergency or disaster period will be over. Check your plan’s website or contact the plan to find out if:

  • Your health plan must allow you to see certain doctors or go to certain hospitals that accept Medicare patients, even if the doctor or hospital isn’t in your plan’s network and your health care need isn’t an emergency. If you have problems using an out-of-network doctor or provider, contact your plan for help.
  • Your plan can’t make you get a referral for out-of-network services.
  • If you usually pay more for out-of-network care, your plan will apply the in-network rate during the emergency or disaster period. If your plan agrees to apply the in-network rate and you go to an out-of-network provider and pay more for the service, save the receipt and ask your plan to give you a refund for the difference.
*Other Medicare health plans include the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). This helps people get the care they need in the community, instead of going to a nursing home. Medicare Cost plans and demonstration/pilot programs are other programs that may be available for certain people in some areas.

Need to refill a prescription…

  • You can move most prescriptions from one in-network pharmacy to another, and back to your regular pharmacy when the emergency or disaster ends.
  • If you need help finding the closest in-network pharmacy, contact your Medicare plan.
  • Contact your plan for information about their out-of-network rules.
  • When you buy your drugs at an out-of-network pharmacy, you’ll pay the full cost of your medicine. Keep all receipts and ask your plan about submitting a claim for a refund.

During a major disaster, you may not be able to return home quickly. It may be a good idea to ask your plan about pharmacies where you can order a 60- to 90-day supply of medications.

Need durable medical equipment replaced…

During emergencies, Original Medicare generally covers the cost to repair or replace durable medical equipment they already paid for. Examples include a wheelchair or walker or supplies like diabetic supplies. But only when you get them from a supplier enrolled in Medicare. Original Medicare also covers the cost for rental equipment (like a wheelchair) if needed while yours is in for repair.

Contact your plan directly for a Medicare Advantage or another Medicare health plan. You can find your plan’s contact information on your plan membership card. Or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) (TTY: 1-877-486-2048).

Need cancer treatments…

If you have Original Medicare, call the National Cancer Institute (NCI). They’ll help you find other cancer care providers. Call 1-800-4 CANCER (1-800-422-6237) (TTY: 1-800-332-8615) between 9 AM–9 PM, Monday–Friday.

Contact your plan directly for a Medicare Advantage or another Medicare health plan. They’ll let you know if rules change during an emergency or disaster.

Need dialysis…

With Original Medicare, contact the End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Network. They’ll help find facilities that give dialysis services in the area where you’re staying temporarily. The ESRD Network also provides contact information for your supplies, drugs, transportation to dialysis services, and emergency financial help if you need it. For your ESRD Network’s contact information, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) (TTY: 1-877-486-2048).

Contact your plan directly for a Medicare Advantage or another Medicare health plan.

Lost my Medicare card…

Immediately call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) (TTY: 1-877-486-2048).

  • If you have Original Medicare, Medicare will replace your card.
  • Don’t want to call? Login to your account and print an official copy of your card.
  • If you have Medicare Advantage, another Medicare health plan, or a Medicare drug plan, Medicare can provide you with your plan’s contact information. Call your plan and ask about a replacement card.

Other “what if’s”…

If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan, other Medicare Health Plan, or Medicare Drug Plan (Part D), you’re still responsible for paying your premium on time in an emergency or disaster. If you don’t pay it on time, your plan may disenroll you.

You can pay your premiums on time by asking your plan to withhold it from your Social Security check. Or pay with electronic funds transferred through your bank.

If your plan disenrolls you, ask your plan to reconsider its decision and get your coverage back. You can find your plan’s contact information on your membership card. You can also contact Medicare for the information.

Need more help…

That’s easy! Include us as part of your disaster plan. Call one of our licensed insurance agents. They’ll walk you through all the “what ifs” and help find the answers you need.

Give us a Call

1-844-672-0317 (TTY: 711)
9 AM to 6 PM ET

MR670 11/2022