Nearly three weeks after the deadliest U.S. wildfires in more than a century, health insurers are suspending prior authorization requirements and coordinating access to care for residents across Hawaii.
At least 115 people are confirmed to have died in the fires, while 388 are still missing in the town of Lahaina, the FBI and Maui County said Aug. 24.
The agency declared a public health emergency in the area on Aug. 11 and CMS offered additional resources and flexibilities for providers to continue offering services. HHS officials, including Secretary Xavier Becerra, visited Maui Aug. 25. Hawaii's Medicaid program has also paused all redeterminations in Maui County for the remainder of 2023.
Hawaii Medical Service Association has been helping to find additional clinicians for the affected area and is working with CVS to guarantee pharmacy access for members. The company is also offering free counseling services to anyone affected through its partnership with Carelon Behavioral Health, and has suspended many prior authorization requirements.
The company has been providing free medical services to members and the public at multiple locations in Lahaina, and has published extensive resources for affected individuals on how to access care and other support. Kaiser Permanente and the Maui Health Foundation combined have donated more than $1 million to local organizations.
Cigna said it is lifting some medical and pharmacy benefit restrictions for members, along with offering 24/7 clinical support to members and non-customers. Cigna's Medicare Advantage members also will see certain provider network and prior authorization requirements temporarily lifted while a state of emergency is in place for the area.
The company's philanthropic foundation said it would donate $500,000 to the Hawaii Community Foundation and Maui Food Bank. UnitedHealthcare is also waiving prior authorizations requirements for members for certain services, and local employees are working with Hawaii members to offer additional resources.
Editor's note: this is not an exhaustive list and many of the organizations listed are contributing additional resources to those affected.