Guide to medical transportation solutions

Guide to medical transportation solutions

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Medical transportation doesn’t have to be expensive. New technologies like Uber and Lyft are starting to offer medical transportation solutions for people who don’t need an ambulance but need help getting to the doctor. Without these services, you could be spending thousands each year on medical transportation. Thankfully, there is another way.

The Future of Medical Transportation With Ridesharing Apps

Ridesharing services like Lyft and Uber are extremely popular for getting people where they need to go. That’s no secret. But did you know that you may be able to use ridesharing apps for medical appointments?

The amount of people using rideshare apps has grown significantly in recent years. Uber and Lyft have a stronghold on the industry. There are 75 million Uber users and 23 million Lyft users.  Health insurance carriers have taken note and now many of them provide plans with rideshare benefits.

Lyft Medical Transportation Services

Lyft has partnered with “leading organizations in health care” including “nine of the 10 largest health systems in the US,” and “the top 10 non-emergency medical transportation brokers.”

Along with the health systems and transportation brokers, Uber has plans to partner with several insurance organizations across the US. They will offer transportation services to patients traveling to and from their health appointments.

Some insurance carriers have partnered with Lyft to provide beneficiaries transportation to and from CVS and Walgreens pharmacies. The plans offer a “no-cost” service that provides insured transportation to and from appointments with healthcare providers.

Note: You should always use emergency transportation when necessary. Lyft drivers cannot replace trained medical professionals. The rideshare service is an additional alternative for transportation in non-emergencies.

How to Use Lyft Health

Lyft provides contracted healthcare providers with the Lyft Concierge to manage your rides. Your provider can send a ride for you so you can be on time to your appointments or to pick up prescriptions.

Your provider can schedule rides in advance so you don’t even have to look at your calendar. The Lyft Concierge gives your providers a detailed view of your current ride and past rides.

Uber Medical Transportation Services

Uber will now allow parents, caregivers, and medical professionals to schedule transportation for you. Uber’s new “Uber Health” is a HIPAA-compliant and cost-effective way for you to book rides using your insurance plan.

How to Use Uber Health

Uber provides contracted healthcare professionals with a comprehensive rideshare app that they can use to schedule your rides. Your provider can use the app to help make sure everything is on schedule and see if you’re on time.

Your provider will handle everything with Uber Health. You don’t even need to own a smartphone to get transportation to and from care visits.

Your insurance plan may help pay for ridesharing, so it’s important to see what benefits your plan has.

Medicare Coverage for Medical Transportation

Many of the above transportation services including Lyft and Uber accept Medicare insurance. Medicare Part B may help pay for emergency ambulance transportation to a hospital or skilled nursing facility if you’d be at risk in another type of vehicle. Medicare may cover non-emergency ambulance transportation if your doctor determines it’s medically necessary.

In general, Medicare covers up to 80 percent of the transportation-related costs, but you will still owe the remaining 20 percent. If you don’t want to pay the entire coinsurance fee, a private policy called a Medicare Supplement plan can help you cover the amount in full.

Other private plans called Medicare Advantage plans can sometimes cover non-emergency transportation. The only caveat is that the vendor must work with your health plan. If your health plan partners with a third-party vendor, you may be able to receive rides to and from doctor’s visits, pharmacies, and hospitals.

Medicaid Medical Transportation Coverage

If you qualify for Medicaid in your state, you may be able to receive coverage for emergency and non-emergency medical transportation. Not every state Medicaid program covers transportation services, so check with your local Medicaid office if you have questions about your plan benefits.

Alternative Ways to Find Medical Transportation

If you can’t get transportation through your healthcare provider or insurance plan, you can try several other ways to find medical transportation including:

Ask Friends and Family: Many times the people around you want to help but they don’t know how. Consider asking friends or family members to take you to your next medical appointment.

Use Other Organizations: Many churches and non-profit organizations use volunteers to drive people and help with non-emergency medical transportation. Contact your church or your local senior center to see what services are available in your area.

Use Paratransit Services if You’re Disabled: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides complimentary door-to-door transportation services to anyone who can’t use regular public transportation due to a physical disability.

What to Look for in Your Medical Transportation

Your medical transportation should provide prompt, courteous service. You should feel comfortable riding to your appointments. You should consider several items when selecting a transportation service such as:

Safety: You must be able to trust your driver. Both Uber and Lyft medical transportation services require their drivers to comply with HIPAA laws, and so do any Medicare- or Medicaid-approved services.

Offered Services: Your transportation solution must be able to meet your individual needs and be accommodating to your situation.

Promptness: Accidents can happen at any time. Find out how quickly your transportation service can reach you in an emergency.

Service Area: Your transportation company should get you where you need to go. If the transportation service won’t bring you to an appointment across town, it may be time to find a new service.

Vehicle Maintenance: Whether you use a rideshare app or other medical transportation, the vehicle you ride in should be clean and well-maintained.
Medical Transportation Services and You
Even though medical transportation services can cost a lot of money, the above programs may provide help. If you have more questions, ask your health insurance carrier or your healthcare provider to point you in the right direction.

Medical Transportation Services and You

Even though medical transportation services can cost a lot of money the above programs can provide help. If you have more questions, ask your health insurance carrier or your healthcare provider to point you in the right direction.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Troy Frink

Troy Frink is a Content Manager at MedicarePlanFinder.com, an organization with a mission to "serve the underserved" with their unbiased approach in connecting people with the right healthcare plans.

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