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09-14-05, 01:35 PM
September 14, 2005
Tricare users displaced by hurricane sought
By Deborah Funk
Times staff writer

Humana Military Healthcare Services is sending staff and information to American Red Cross shelters in the Southern United States to look for Tricare patients evacuated from Hurricane Katrina’s wrath.

As many as 136,000 Tricare users may have been displaced by the hurricane, which tore through Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

“We do not have any idea how many Tricare beneficiaries may be located throughout the shelters,” Orie Mullen, Humana’s chief operating officer, said in a prepared statement. “However, our goal is to ensure each one of the military personnel, retirees and their families understand how to receive medical care during this time.”

Humana is providing one-on-one counseling at 46 shelters that have more than 400 evacuees. The company also is sending information to 540 shelters to explain how to access Tricare benefits in the wake of the storm.

More information about Tricare services in the three hard-hit states can be found online or by calling 1-800-444-5445.

Tricare managers also are working to help military families get required prescription drugs, to include waiving co-pays in certain cases and transferring prescriptions between locations.

A new 24-hour CVS store, opened Sept. 2 at the Houston Astrodome, where many people were sent to shelter, is part of the Tricare pharmacy network.

In its first 48 hours, the store filled 10,000 prescriptions. It is unknown how many of those were for military beneficiaries, said Todd Andrews, CVS spokesman. The pace has dropped to about 700 per day.

In an average week, a CVS store fills 1,500 prescriptions.

Most of the drugs dispensed have been for two main purposes — medicines such as antibiotics for acute conditions people developed at the Superdome in New Orleans, and maintenance medications to treat conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes.