September 04, 2008

Blue Cross Reaches Out in Gustav's Aftermath

Insurer relaxes some rules for customers hit by historic hurricane

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and HMO Louisiana have temporarily lifted some medical and pharmacy policy requirements for members affected by Hurricane Gustav, effective Saturday, Aug. 30, 2008.

"The employees of Blue Cross are extremely proud of how our fellow Louisianians prepared for Hurricane Gustav. The lessons all of us learned from Katrina and Rita helped our state weather this storm with great courage," said Mike Reitz, interim president and CEO. "As a Louisiana company, we want our customers and business partners all over the state to know we support them and are going through this crisis with them."

Until Friday, Sept. 12, affected members may:

  • Receive in-network benefits for care out of their network.
  • Refill prescriptions, even if they are not due to be filled for 30 days.
  • Receive treatment covered under their plan without prior authorization.

Please note that these temporary changes do not suspend the application of any exclusions in the subscriber's policy, such as those for pre-existing conditions, investigational services or other policy limitations.

Access to prescription medications

Blue Cross and HMO Louisiana members who have lost their medications or cannot receive their mail-order medications because they have relocated may call the company's pharmacy benefits manager, Express Scripts, Inc., toll-free at 1.866.781.7533. Express Scripts will help these customers obtain their medications. This phone line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Contacting Blue Cross

  • Customers with questions are encouraged to contact Blue Cross using the secure online inquiry form at
  • The company's headquarters building off Bluebonnet Boulevard and its Houma and New Orleans district offices will be closed until Monday, Sept. 8. Reitz said the company anticipates delivering core services on Monday, Sept. 8, and becoming fully operational shortly after that.
  • The company's Shreveport, Alexandria, Lake Charles, Lafayette and Monroe district offices will open Friday, Sept. 5, and can handle limited customer service inquiries.
  • Customers with critical questions that cannot wait until Blue Cross' full customer service center is operational may call toll-free 1.800.495.2583.

These temporary measures are being taken in the spirit of Blue Cross' mission to provide Louisianians with affordable access to quality healthcare.

"We want our members to be able to focus on their own recovery and on helping their families and neighbors get back on their feet," Reitz said. Blue Cross activated a special Hurricane Information page of its website on Friday, Aug. 29. Customers with internet access may monitor this page for any further updates.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is Louisiana-owned and -operated. Marking its 75th anniversary in 2009, the company is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. It is a tax-paying mutual company, owned by its policyholders. Headquartered in Baton Rouge, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana also has district offices in Alexandria, Houma, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe, New Orleans and Shreveport. The company's subsidiaries include HMO Louisiana, Inc. and Southern National Life Insurance Company, Inc.