FALLS CHURCH, Va. –
Natural disasters are so frequent that it can be difficult to predict where the next hurricane, tornado, or flood may occur. That’s why you must always be prepared. In case of a natural disaster, one of the most important preparations is to ensure you and your family have your prescription drugs and access to health care services. Understanding how your TRICARE benefit works during emergencies is crucial.
“TRICARE has policies that allow beneficiaries to get needed prescriptions and health care during emergencies,” said Sapna Surana, chief of the TRICARE Private Sector Care Integration Office. “When a natural disaster strikes, these policies may apply to your area.”
When the government issues a state of emergency, TRICARE may temporarily change its procedures to ensure that you receive timely medical care. Here’s what you need to know.
How to get emergency prescription refills
TRICARE may authorize early refills for prescriptions
during emergencies or prior to natural disasters, as stated in the TRICARE Pharmacy Program Handbook
. To get an emergency refill, take your prescription bottle to any TRICARE retail network pharmacy
. You should try to visit the pharmacy where you originally filled the prescription. If you used a retail chain, you can fill your prescription at another store in that chain. You can also ask your provider to call in a new prescription to any retail network pharmacy
will apply to your emergency prescription refill.
If your prescription bottle is unavailable or the label is damaged or missing, you should contact the TRICARE pharmacy contractor, Express Scripts
, or your retail network pharmacy.
How to get emergency referral waivers
What if you’re displaced during a disaster and can’t visit your primary care manager
? TRICARE may authorize blanket referral waivers
in certain areas during emergencies. If a waiver is in place
, it means you can see any TRICARE-authorized provider without paying point-of-service costs
. If you need to file a claim
, be sure to keep your receipts and file the claim as soon as possible. This will help you avoid unnecessary out-of-pocket costs.
If you’re displaced and need to find a doctor, use TRICARE’s Find a Doctor
tool to find one nearby.
How to keep up with your TRICARE coverage
If your area experiences a natural disaster, there are a few things you should remember to do to after a disaster
to make sure your health care needs are met.
How to prepare for an emergency
- Check to see if you have your Uniformed Services ID card with you. If you lose your ID card, go to the nearest ID card office to get a new one.
- Follow appropriate referral and authorization procedures.
- Don’t forget to transfer your TRICARE enrollment if you move after an evacuation.
- Continue to pay your plan’s enrollment fees or monthly premiums on time, if applicable.
- File claims in a timely manner.
What you do to prepare before a disaster
is also important. Do you have an emergency plan
? Take time to outline how you and your family would communicate, how you would evacuate, and where you would shelter. It’s also important to have your essential items
in a place that’s safe and easy to find.
When a natural disaster strikes your area, check TRICARE Disaster Alerts
to learn if TRICARE has issued emergency policies such as early prescription refills or referral waivers. Follow up with your TRICARE contractor
if you have any questions.
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