IBD Assistance During Natural Disasters

During a time of crisis, managing Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis can become even more difficult. There are resources available to patients who live in areas that are prone to natural disasters (hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.).

For Uninsured Patients

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) created the Emergency Prescription Assistance Program (EPAP):

  • EPAP provides a mechanism for over 70,000 enrolled retail pharmacies nationwide to process claims for certain kinds of prescription drugs, specific medical supplies, vaccines, and some forms of durable medical equipment (DME) for eligible individuals in a federally-identified disaster area.
  • Patients who do not have health insurance may qualify for help under EPAP. Eligible patients can initiate a claim for certain medical items if they were lost, stolen, or destroyed as the result of certain disasters.
  • Patients can receive a 30-day supply of most prescription drugs or specific medical supplies. Prescriptions may be renewed every 30 days for as long as EPAP is active. If you rely on medical supplies, you can get additional supplies every 30 days for as long as EPAP is active. DME is typically only provided once, but if it is lost or stolen after it has been issued, it may be replaced. Vaccines are typically a single course of treatment and do not need to be refilled.
  • Check to see if EPAP has been activated in your area.
  • Call 855-793-7470 or click here for further information.

For Insured Patients

(Private, Medicare, and Medicaid) Public and Private plans have “Natural Disaster Coverage” included in their plans:

  • Each provider has plan-specific coverage and emergency “overrides”.
  • After the emergency supply, the patient must refill their existing prescription or get a new one from their doctor. If the patient’s plan does not cover medications beyond a five-day supply, the cost is the responsibility of the patient. Patients that have home owner insurance may be able to get help through the home insurance. Contact home insurance provider for more information.

The following resources also provide information about emergency preparedness for prescription medications and other related prepping tips:

If you have additional questions, please contact the IBD Help Center at [email protected], or 1-888-MY-GUT-PAIN (888-694-8872, extension 8) Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST.