JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Aug. 31, 2023) – Florida Blue, the state’s Blue Cross Blue Shield plan, announced an initial $100,000 donation to support relief and recovery efforts across the state of Florida to help communities hardest hit by Hurricane Idalia.
"Idalia is the strongest storm to hit Florida's Big Bend region in more than a century and brought heavy winds, rains and catastrophic flooding," said Pat Geraghty, president & CEO of GuideWell and Florida Blue. "Like many rural communities, this area of the state has limited access to health care and other important resources and will need additional support in the coming days. We are committed to working with partners across the state to make sure our friends, neighbors and loved ones in impacted areas get the help and support they need.”
Florida Blue’s initial investment will be split between the American Red Cross in Florida and Volunteer Florida’s Disaster Fund.
- $50,000 will be directed to the American Red Cross in Florida to help address immediate needs.
- $50,000 will be directed to Volunteer Florida to address long-term recovery efforts.
Providing $0 Health & Well-Being Resources to Impacted Floridians
In addition to the $100,000 donation in relief efforts, Florida Blue has launched several resources to support the health and well-being of Floridians impacted by the storm – regardless of their insurance status.
No-cost, 24/7 virtual care visits: Many urgent care and doctor’s offices closed due to Hurricane Idalia and may be slow to reopen due to power outages or damage. Florida Blue is working with Teladoc to offer no-cost, 24/7 virtual care visits for anyone impacted by the hurricane – even if they’re not a Florida Blue member.
Teladoc clinicians can help with non-emergency conditions such as allergies, cold, flu and sinus problems. They also can prescribe some medications that are not controlled substances. Individuals should call the Teladoc hotline at 855-225-5032 for assistance. The service is only for non-emergency situations.
Toll-free 24/7 bilingual emotional support helpline: The stress and anxiety of a hurricane can sometimes be overwhelming. Florida Blue members who may need any kind of emotional support can speak with a licensed counselor at no cost via a bilingual 24/7 help line. Members can call toll-free 1-833-848-1762 if they’re experiencing feelings of stress, anxiety, trauma, or grief. Callers may also receive referrals to community resources to help with emergency services. Help is offered in English and Spanish.
Help with community & social services: Florida Blue Centers teams are available at no cost to support Florida Blue members and anyone in the community who needs help and can be reached by calling 877-352-5830. The Florida Blue Center Community Specialists can help with community and social services like food programs, transportation services, financial and housing assistance programs, community support resources, and many other types of relief programs. They’re ready to help by phone or through a virtual visit – whatever works best for each individual – by calling 877-352-5830.
Florida Blue is also working directly with its most vulnerable members to support them in the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia. Nurses and care teams are personally reaching out to members with special needs, chronic health conditions requiring constant management and other vulnerable members to check on their health and safety and offer assistance with accessing necessary medical supplies, medications, and other essential items.
About Florida Blue
Florida Blue, Florida’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield company, has been providing health insurance to residents of Florida for more than 75 years. Driven by its mission of helping people and communities achieve better health, the company serves more than 6 million members across the state. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., it is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.