Home Resources Our blog What Protections Do I Have if I’m Affected by a Major Disaster?
AMAC Medicare Advisory Service
Mar 30, 2023

What Protections Do I Have if I’m Affected by a Major Disaster?


The Ohio train derailment and California winter storms what do these two events have in common? They both were declared major disasters, leaving many people in a bind. And with calamities like these becoming, unfortunately, more frequent, it raises the question: what protections do you have if you are affected by a major disaster?

When a disaster is declared, officials provide emergency services to safeguard public health and repair damaged property. Government aid in the form of emergency loans and relief supplies is what we usually expect to be provided, but there are other protections available that you may not be aware of.

In terms of your healthcare, these protections include added network flexibility, a laxer referral process, and the ability to make changes to your health insurance.

During a major disaster, those enrolled in Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan can expect:

  • Ability to use an out-of-network provider for basic services (if that provider has agreed to perform services under Original Medicare).
  • Out-of-network cost sharing will be temporarily reduced to in-network cost sharing.
  • Requirements for referrals and authorizations will be waived.
  • A special election period will be provided to those who missed their enrollment deadlines due to disaster-related circumstances.

Keep in mind these protections are provided through the duration of the emergency, so they are not intended to be in effect long-term. If you believe you are entitled to any of these protections, call your insurance carrier and ask if you are in a disaster-affected area. They can provide more information and let you know how long the protections will be in effect.

For help with Medicare plans – or any questions you may have about Medicare – contact AMAC’s Medicare Advisory Service at 1-855-611-4856 or request a quote below!

(Please note that we do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE to get information on all of your options.)

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