UnitedHealthcare Takes Action to Help People Affected by Joplin Tornado, Support Red Cross Relief Efforts

May 25, 2011
  • Assistance for people who need immediate access to care or early refills of prescription medications

UnitedHealthcare is helping people affected by the deadly tornado that recently struck Joplin and surrounding communities, resulting in more than 125 fatalities.

Assistance includes: special measures to help ensure UnitedHealthcare plan participants residing in counties that have declared a state of emergency continue to have access to care and prescription medications; and financial support of the Red Cross’ relief efforts in affected communities.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who lost loved ones, were injured, lost their home or business as a result of this devastating tornado,” said Steve Walli, CEO of UnitedHealthcare’s Employer & Individual business in Missouri. “We are working closely with the Red Cross and others to address the urgent, immediate needs of the local community as they try to recover from this tragedy.

“We are also taking action to ensure our customers, physicians and hospital partners have all the support they need to ensure there is minimal disruption to care. We are continuing to monitor the situation closely and will take additional action as needed.”

The company is taking the following steps, effective immediately:

  • Access to Care: Plan participants who have been displaced from their homes or whose network medical facility or physician is not accessible, and require assistance or special accommodations, can call customer care at the number located on the back of their medical ID card for assistance. If necessary, customer care professionals will help affected individuals obtain in-network benefits if a network care provider is not available. UnitedHealthcare plan participants who do not have their medical ID card may call 866-633-2446, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. (in the local time zone), Monday through Friday.

    This includes plan participants enrolled in all fully insured commercial products, Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement plans. This policy is effective immediately and will remain active until at least June 7, 2011.


  • Early Prescription Refills: People who have been displaced or do not have access to their medications will be able to have prescriptions refilled early. Plan participants are asked to alert their pharmacists that they were affected by the tornado in order to ensure their early prescription refill requests are processed appropriately.

    This includes plan participants enrolled in all fully insured commercial products, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement or Medicare Part D offerings insured through UnitedHealthcare. For mail-order delivery service to affected areas or any other questions related to their prescriptions, people are encouraged to call the pharmacy number on the back of their medical or prescription ID card, or speak directly to a pharmacist about their situation in order to get an early refill, if necessary.

    This policy is effective immediately and will remain active until at least June 7, 2011.


  • Support for the American Red Cross: Through a $500,000 annual commitment, UnitedHealthcare participates in the Annual Disaster Giving Program of the American Red Cross, which is offering shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to people in the affected communities.

About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization – not a government agency – and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

About UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 650,000 physicians and care professionals and 5,000 hospitals nationwide. UnitedHealthcare serves more than 37 million people and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company. 

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