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Pacific Life And Wellpoint Aid Wildfire Evacuees

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Life and health insurers are mobilizing to help the 500,000 Southern California residents displaced by the recent outbreak of wildfires.

The Pacific Life Foundation, a charity affiliated with Pacific Life Insurance Company, Newport Beach, Calif., is giving $500,000 to the American Red Cross Southern California Wildfires Fund.

The Blue Cross of California Foundation, Thousand Oaks, Calif., an affiliate of WellPoint Inc., Indianapolis, is donating $50,000 to the American Red Cross wildfires fund.

The Red Cross will be using the donations to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance for the people who have been forced to leave their homes.

“The displacement of families caused by these fires is unprecedented and requires a rapid response by the public and private sectors to assist our employees and neighbors in coping with this tragedy,” Bob Haskell, president of the Pacific Life Foundation, says in a statement.

Brian Sassi, president of Blue Cross of California, which is now a WellPoint Inc subsidiary, says the company is committed to the health and safety of the communities it serves.

“Our rapid response to this situation demonstrates the importance we place on ensuring that all necessary provisions will be made available as quickly as possible to those in need,” Sassi says.

Aetna Inc., Hartford, and other insurers have announced that they have relaxed their usual prescription refill requirements and that they are approving non-emergency care by out-of-network providers for plan members who cannot get to their usual providers.

Aetna and other insurers also are recommending that evacuated California residents try calling employee assistant program telephone counselors.

The counselors can provide some support over the telephone, and they also can provide help with finding shelters and other government resources, Aetna says.


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