When a natural disaster strikes, Regence is here to support your care needs

July 12, 2021
wildfire

Expanded medication access for affected members

By Regence

Multiple areas of the country are experiencing severe weather, including wildfires and related states of emergency. In some cases, this is affecting the delivery of needed medications to people’s homes, even to areas that have not been hit with bad weather.

We're here to answer your questions and ensure you get the care you need in emergencies.

If a state of emergency is declared where you live, you may be able to refill prescriptions at any pharmacy, even if it’s out of network. We waive refill restrictions in states of emergency and will work with your provider to resolve questions and secure any needed authorizations. For prescriptions, we can work with you, your doctor and nearby pharmacies that have your medication(s) in stock to ensure you receive the care you need.

If you need help, call us at the number on the back of your member ID card. You can also chat with us online in the Regence app or by signing in to your online account at regence.com. Pharmacy customer service is available 24/7. Your health plan may also have telehealth options available with extended hours.

Recommendations for disaster preparation

We don’t recommend stockpiling prescription medications for emergency kits, as they have expiration dates, and some require special handling and storage. We can’t guarantee the safety or efficacy of medications stored for a long period of time.

Instead:

  • Make a list of prescription and over-the-counter medications and dosages you take regularly. Keep your list and phone numbers for your doctors and pharmacies in a waterproof bag or container.
  • Carry your member ID card at all times or download the Regence app to access your member ID card and member information from your phone.
  • Reorder your medications as soon as you are able. Consider ordering an extended supply (e.g. up to 90 days) through home delivery or retail pharmacies, and don’t wait until you are out of medication to refill your prescription.
  • Keep your medications together. Keep them in their original containers with original labels and store them in a waterproof bag or container.
  • Prepare for special needs: If your medication requires refrigeration or electronic equipment, have a plan for temporary storage and administration.
  • Share your medication disaster plan with your doctor, especially if your medication has special shipping or electronic equipment requirements. Also discuss plans for your child’s medication with your child’s daycare provider or school.

Minimizing your exposure to wildfire smoke

While each person’s situation is unique, the general rule is to stay inside if you can. Keep doors and windows closed, set air conditioners to use recirculated air, and avoid adding to indoor air pollution with tobacco smoke, wood-burning stoves, etc.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers tips for improving indoor air quality. You can also visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for information on protecting yourself from wildfire smoke during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Know the difference between symptoms from smoke exposure and COVID-19

Preparation for wildfires may look a little different this year. Smoke exposure can affect the immune system and make you more prone to lung infections, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. It’s important to get a COVID-19 vaccine to help protect you and those around you.

Some symptoms, like dry cough, sore throat, and difficulty breathing can be caused by both wildfire smoke exposure and COVID-19. Symptoms like fever or chills, muscle or body aches, and diarrhea are not related to smoke exposure. If you have any of these symptoms, the CDC COVID-19 Self-Checker can help you determine whether you need further assessment or testing for COVID-19. If you have questions after using the CDC COVID-19 Self-Checker, contact your health care provider.

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