Stay Alert During Natural Disasters with TRICARE
The recent earthquakes in California and Chile are a reminder that earthquakes, hurricanes and other disasters are serious dangers to anyone living in their path. A disaster can happen at any time, during any season, and disaster preparation and knowing how to get help is essential.
Have a disaster plan and practice it, so that if an emergency takes place, your family knows their roles and responsibilities. Everyone should have an emergency “Go To” kit and a family communication plan with a designated emergency leader. It’s also important to have copies of important documents including Social Security, health insurance and Uniformed Services ID, driver’s license and other state issued ID cards and other items like a list of prescriptions and shot records.
Make sure the designated leader has the numbers to family doctors and the TRICARE regional contractor nearby. It’s important to remember that families may have to rely on their own resources following a disaster. A common misconception is that government assistance is available immediately. It can take several days or even weeks for federal aid to arrive, depending on the size of the disaster and the number of people affected.
During emergencies, the Department of Defense (DoD) can approve a waiver of PCM referrals. Waiving the PCM referral requirement allows affected beneficiaries to get care from TRICARE-authorized providers without a PCM referral, avoiding point-of-service charges. In case of injury, seek the closest emergency care.
TRICARE beneficiaries can also use the “Emergency Refill Too Soon” waiver to get an emergency prescription refill. Contact Express Scripts at 1-877-363-1303 or search the network pharmacy locator to find the nearest network pharmacy. If possible, beneficiaries should visit the pharmacy where the prescription was filled. You can request assistance at another pharmacy; however, help provided is at the pharmacy's discretion. If you use a retail chain, you can get medication from another store in that chain. If your primary care manager is available, he or she may call in a new prescription to any network pharmacy in the area.
TRICARE has a downloadable contact wallet card with all the contacts you need for help with your health plan. There is also a fact sheet that explains TRICARE coverage during natural disasters. Both are available at www.tricare.mil/disasterinfo.
To learn more about preparing for natural disasters visit www.ready.gov, and sign up for TRICARE e-mail updates at www.tricare.mil/subscriptions. Subscribers receive the most up-to-date disaster alert information and updates directly via email. Also check TRICARE’s social media pages for news and updates.