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UnitedHealth Group Donates $100,000 to "Hurricanes of 2008" American Red Cross Fund; Takes Additional Action to Help Storm Victims


UnitedHealth Group customers affected by the storm eligible to obtain early prescription refills

Toll-free help line to assist residents seeking help to deal with stress and anxiety brought on by the storm

Plano, Texas . - UnitedHealth Group is donating $100,000 to the “Hurricanes of 2008” American Red Cross fund to assist in emergency relief and recovery efforts.

The donation will provide support for shelter, meals, clean up and comfort kits, as well as mental health support for the families and communities affected by U.S. hurricanes this season. UnitedHealth Group has also donated water and other supplies to assist storm victims and mobilized its local employee volunteer corps who will link to relief efforts.

In addition, through the company’s annual giving campaign, employee contributions will be matched dollar-for-dollar to eligible organizations that provide disaster relief, including the American Red Cross and Salvation Army chapters that are members of the United Way.

“UnitedHealth Group is concerned about the health and welfare of people affected by hurricanes. We want to move quickly to help not just our customers, but as many of our fellow residents affected by the storm as possible. And we will continue to look for ways to respond to their needs,” said Randy Giles, CEO of UnitedHealthcare of South Texas.

UnitedHealth Group and its family of companies, including UnitedHealthcare, Ovations, AmeriChoice, OptumHealth and Prescription Solutions, is also taking action to help people who have been adversely affected by the storm.

Individuals and clients with a commercial, fully insured plan and residing in the counties listed in the Texas Department of Insurance Emergency order (Angelina, Austin, Brazoria, Brazos, Chambers, Cherokee, Fort Bend, Galveston, Gregg, Grimes, Hardin, Harris, Houston, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Madison, Matagorda, Montgomery, Nacogdoches, Newton, Orange, Polk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Rusk, Trinity, Tyler, Walker, Waller, Washington and Wharton) have been extended a number of relief measures, including:

Extension of Deadline for Premium Payments. Effective Sept. 7, 2008, an extension of the deadline for premium payments will be granted to individual and employer clients in Texas that were affected by Hurricane Ike. This applies only to commercial fully insured business and individuals in counties listed in the Texas Department of Insurance emergency order.

Coverage for Medical Services, Equipment and Supplies for fully insured individuals in affected counties for dates of service beginning Sept. 7, 2008, and forward:

* Help Accessing Network Physicians and Facilities. Individuals that require care and are unable to determine the network status of a physician or care facility will not be subject to a benefit reduction for seeing an out-of-network provider. Customers who are displaced are encouraged to call the number on the back of their ID card for assistance.

Individuals outside the Texas Department of Insurance Emergency order area who need assistance should call the telephone number on the back of their medical ID cards. If necessary, customer care professionals will help them obtain in-network benefits for out-of-network services if an in-network provider is not available.

* Durable Medical Equipment and Supplies - Guidelines for durable medical equipment and supplies replacement will be modified to allow earlier replacement should the item be damaged, lost or destroyed.

* Provider & Member Timely Filing - We will also extend any claim-filing deadlines for members and providers.

* Waive Notification Penalties - We will waive contractual restrictions that require preauthorization, or notification requirements for individuals in counties listed in the Texas Department of Insurance emergency order.

We will also waive contractual restrictions that require preauthorization, or notification requirements for both self-funded and fully insured members in the counties listed in the Hurricane Ike FEMA disaster order for Texas (outside the Texas Department of Insurance’s emergency order area). This specific provision will remain in effect until Sept. 26, 2008. For the most up-to-date list of counties in the related Hurricane Ike FEMA order, please visit

Early Refills for Prescription Medications. Effective immediately, a pharmacy exception for covered prescription refills has been implemented across all counties in Texas. This allows fully insured health plan customers affected by Hurricane Ike to obtain an early refill of a prescription medication, providing they have a refill remaining on file at a participating retail pharmacy. This measure will remain in place for the duration of this event. Note: this does not affect self-funded business; however, self-funded clients can request to adopt these measures. Please contact your UnitedHealthcare representative for more details.

The pharmacy early refill exception also applies to individuals with prescription coverage through Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement or Medicare Part D offerings, including the AARP MedicareRx plans.

Medicare Advantage and Medicaid Enrollees: Medicare Advantage and Medicaid enrollees also have access to the above services within the state of Texas.

The OptumHealth Help Line is now open at (866) 342-6892 to assist all residents trying to cope with the emotional consequences of Hurricane Ike. Staffed by experienced master’s-level behavioral health specialists, the free help line assists callers with a range of personal concerns including stress, anxiety and the grieving process. Callers may also receive referrals to a database of community resources to help them with specific concerns, such as financial and legal issues. The Help Line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for as long as necessary. This service is free of charge. Resources and information are also available in English at and in Spanish at


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