WellPoint Adjusts Health and Pharmacy Guidelines for Members Affected by Hurricane Gustav

Friday, September 5, 2008 General News
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INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 4 WellPoint today announced revisedmedical and pharmacy guidelines to help members who are directly impacted byHurricane Gustav. In addition, a 24-hour nurse helpline - 1-866-417-7107 - hasbeen established to assist members.

The revised guidelines will help members access needed medical care andprescription drugs in the wake of the devastation caused by last weekend'shurricane.

Members affected by the hurricane should seek medical assistance whereverit is available and have their medications refilled at any pharmacy or shippedto them at an alternative address.

In addition, through Sept. 9, all providers caring for affected memberswill be considered "in-network" providers, and affected members will not berequired to satisfy prior authorization, pre-certification or referralrequirements during this time.

These revisions apply to affected members who were living in impactedcounties in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas at the time of thehurricane and who are covered by UniCare, WellPoint NextRx and WellPointaffiliated health plans in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia,Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Nevada, Ohio,Wisconsin and Virginia. More information on WellPoint's affiliated healthplans can be found at http://www.wellpoint.com/business/about_family.asp .

These medical and pharmacy guidelines are effective through Sept. 9, 2008.At that time, it will be determined if these guidelines need to be extended.

WellPoint's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is offering free telephoniccounseling and referral services for the next 30 days to all members in theareas impacted by the hurricane. Services include access to a resource-richWeb site and telephonic consultations with professional counselors. The EAPprogram is available 24 hours a day by calling, toll-free, 1-800-765-4446, orby logging into the EAP member Web site at www.anthemeap.com and entering thepassword "hurricane."

For additional questions, members should call the phone number on the backof their membership card. If they do not have their card, they should call1-866-417-7107.

About WellPoint:

WellPoint, Inc. is the largest health benefits company in terms of medicalmembership in the United States. WellPoint is an independent licensee of theBlue Cross and Blue Shield Association and serves its members as the BlueCross licensee for California; the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee forColorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (as theBlue Cross Blue Shield licensee in 10 New York City metropolitan andsurrounding counties and as the Blue Cross or Blue Cross Blue Shield licenseein selected upstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (serving Virginia excludingthe city of Fairfax, the town of Vienna and the area east of State Route 123),Wisconsin; and through UniCare. Additional information about WellPoint isavailable at www.wellpoint.com .For impacted members, WellPoint is: -- Suspending requirements for prior authorization and pre-certification. -- Suspending requirements for authorization or referral from a primary care physician. -- Allowing the affected members to see any physician necessary to provide access to care. -- Paying all claims as in-network, regardless of whether or not the health care provider is in network. -- Suspending early refill limits and shipping prescriptions to members at alternative addresses. -- Suspending utilization management (UM) review of in-hospital cases.

SOURCE WellPoint

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