Options for Medical Transportation with Medicare (2023)

  • Medicare covers some, but not all, types of medical transportation.
  • Both original Medicare and Medicare Advantage cover emergency transportation by ambulance.
  • While original Medicare doesn’t typically cover nonemergency transportation, some Medicare Advantage plans may offer this as an additional benefit.
  • Medicaid, PACE, and other state or local programs can also help you access transportation.

Transportation is an important part of many people’s daily life. You might rely on it to commute to work, get groceries, and visit the doctor.

But as you get older, your access to transportation may become more limited. In fact, a study of nearly 7,500 Medicare beneficiaries found that about 25 percent reported having limited access to transportation.

Medicare covers some specific types of medical transportation. In this article, we’ll explore what’s covered, as well as additional resources for those on Medicare.

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Original Medicare, which is made up of Medicare Part A and Part B, covers emergency transportation in an ambulance. Nonemergency transportation, on the other hand, typically isn’t covered — with a few exceptions.

Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) plans are offered by private health insurance companies that contract with Medicare. These plans often include benefits that original Medicare doesn’t. One potential benefit is transportation to and from doctors’ visits.

(Video) Does Medicare Pay for Non Emergency Medical Transportation

Let’s break down the types of transportation that Medicare covers in more detail.

Emergency transportation

Original Medicare, specifically Part B, covers emergency transportation in an ambulance to the nearest appropriate medical facility. This transportation is covered if you meet the following criteria:

  • You need medically necessary emergency services.
  • Transport in another vehicle could put your health at an increased risk.

Sometimes, ground transportation might not be an efficient way to get you the emergency treatment you need. In these cases, Part B may pay for emergency transportation by helicopter or plane.

If you need emergency transportation, you’ll pay 20 percent of the cost after you’ve met your Part B deductible. For 2020, the Part B deductible is $198.

Medicare Advantage plans provide the same basic coverage as original Medicare, including emergency transportation. But the rules or requirements for emergency transportation may vary by plan.

Nonemergency transportation

Medicare Part B may also cover nonemergency transportation in an ambulance. For Medicare to cover this type of service, you must have a note from your doctor stating that transportation in an ambulance is medically necessary.

(Video) Medicare Ambulance Coverage - Medicare Explained: Medicare Transportation Services

The ambulance company may give you an Advance Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage (ABN) before transporting you. You’ll received an ABN when both of the following conditions apply:

  • You’re using an ambulance in a nonemergency situation.
  • The ambulance company doesn’t believe that Medicare will pay for this particular ambulance trip.

When you’re given an ABN, you’ll have to decide whether you still want to use the ambulance service. If you agree to the service, you may be responsible for paying the entire cost if Medicare chooses not to cover it.

Medicare Advantage plans may cover nonemergency transportation to a doctor’s office or clinic. But this service may be covered only if it’s to a location approved by your plan. Because rules or requirements can vary, it’s important to check your specific plan to see what’s included.

In addition to the services covered by Medicare, you might have additional transportation options. Let’s explore some of them below.

Medicaid

Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that helps people with lower incomes pay for healthcare costs. Like Medicare, Medicaid covers the cost of emergency transportation in an ambulance.

But Medicaid can also cover nonemergency transportation to a doctor’s office or clinic. In fact, it’s estimated that this service was used for 59 million outpatient trips in 2015.

(Video) Medicaid Transportation Program

There may be some requirements for coverage of nonemergency transportation. For example, Medicaid may cover your transport if you:

  • don’t have a car
  • don’t have a driver’s license
  • have a physical or mental disability
  • can’t travel or wait for a ride by yourself

The type of transport provided may vary; it can include a car, van, taxi, or bus. You may also need to share your ride with one or multiple other people.

Each state runs its own Medicaid program. To see if you’re eligible for Medicaid and find out what transportation benefits are available, contact your state’s Medicaid office.

Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)

PACE is a program that’s run jointly by Medicare and Medicaid. Under PACE, a team of professionals works to provide you with coordinated care. To be eligible for PACE, you must:

  • have Medicare, Medicaid, or both
  • be 55 years old or over
  • live in an area that’s covered by PACE
  • need a level of care that’s typically provided in a nursing home
  • be able to live safely in your community with assistance from PACE

PACE covers all medically necessary services that Medicare and Medicaid cover. It may also pay for some additional services that these programs don’t cover.

The program will cover your transportation to a PACE center for medically necessary care. It may also cover transportation to a doctor’s appointment within your community.

You may be charged a monthly premium for some services. But you won’t have any copays or deductibles for PACE services approved by your care team.

Find out if there’s a PACE program in your area by using Medicare’s search tool or by contacting your local Medicaid office.

State and local programs

Your state or city may have additional programs that can help you find transportation. The programs and the types of services they provide may differ from one area to another.

(Video) Non-Emergency Medical Transportation

One option is to look for Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) near you. AAA helps address the needs of people who are ages 60 and over, with a large focus on access to transportation.

To find state or local programs, including AAA, use the Eldercare Locator. This is a tool developed by the U.S. Administration on Aging that can help you find many different services in your area.

Commercial options

There are also commercial options available for your transportation needs. Some examples include:

  • Uber Health. Family members and care providers can use this service, offered by Uber, to book rides to your medical appointments.
  • GoGoGrandparent. GoGoGrandparent is offered in the United States and Canada. It helps people ages 50 and older request an Uber or Lyft or order meals or groceries for delivery. You need to pay a monthly membership fee for this service.
  • SilverRide. SilverRide provides safe, assisted transportation in the San Francisco or Kansas City area. You pay per ride, and contactless payment is available.

Medicare covers some types of transportation for beneficiaries who need medical services. This can include both emergency and nonemergency transportation.

Both original Medicare and Medicare Advantage cover emergency transportation in an ambulance. Most of the time, original Medicare doesn’t cover nonemergency situations, unless approved ahead of time. Some Medicare Advantage plans may cover this service as an added feature.

There are additional resources you can use to get access to transportation services, including Medicaid, PACE, and state or local programs.

(Video) How To Start A Non Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) Business From Scratch (TBT) #47

The specific services provided and eligibility requirements for these resources can vary based on your location. You can get more information by contacting your state’s Medicaid office or through the Eldercare Locator search tool.

The information on this website may assist you in making personal decisions about insurance, but it is not intended to provide advice regarding the purchase or use of any insurance or insurance products. Healthline Media does not transact the business of insurance in any manner and is not licensed as an insurance company or producer in any U.S. jurisdiction. Healthline Media does not recommend or endorse any third parties that may transact the business of insurance.

FAQs

How do I start a non-emergency medical transportation in Maryland? ›

More Information. If you are a current client, please call the NEMT at 301-856-9555 for transportation a minimum of 24 hours in advance of medical appointments. Residents can apply by calling 301-856-9555 between 8:30am - 4:00pm Mondays - Fridays.

Does Florida Medicaid provide transportation? ›

Transportation is covered by all Managed Medical Assistance, Long-term Care and Comprehensive Long-term Care plans serving Medicaid enrollees. Medicaid will pay for non-emergency transportation services for a Medicaid eligible recipient who has no other means of transportation to a Medicaid covered service.

Where can I use my Alabama Medicaid non-emergency transportation card? ›

The Alabama Medicaid Agency's Non-Emergency Transportation program helps eligible recipients pay for rides to dental and doctor offices, hospitals and other medical facilities when the service is also covered by Medicaid.

Does Medi cal cover medical transportation? ›

Medi-Cal offers transportation to and from appointments for services covered by Medi-Cal. This includes transportation to medical, dental, mental health, or substance use disorder appointments, and to pick up prescriptions and medical supplies.

Does Maryland Medicaid provide transportation? ›

Maryland Medicaid Transportation Program (MA Transportation) transports Medicaid recipients to medically necessary local and regional appointments or Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT). Long distance transportation is also available on Mondays-Thursdays, if the participant qualifies.

Is 1777 ambulance free? ›

For cases which do not require emergency response, you can call 1777 for a non-emergency ambulance at a fee. Note: Charges are subjected to additional costs that will be informed by the Private Ambulance Operators to the caller/patient.

How do I start a non emergency medical transportation in Florida? ›

You may need to:
  1. Obtain a business license and/or provide proof of a business license.
  2. Register with the county or city in which you plan to do business.
  3. Provide proof of vehicle insurance.
  4. Provide registration of your vehicle(s).
  5. Provide photos of your vehicle(s).
  6. Have your vehicle(s) inspected.

Which transportation service is newly covered by health insurance and Hmos in Florida? ›

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Nov. 1, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Florida Blue, the leading health insurer in Florida, announced today that it is working with Lyft, a transportation network, to offer Florida Blue members with Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual plans Lyft rides to their doctor's visits.

Who owns MTM transportation? ›

Lynn Griswold

Lynn co-founded MTM with his wife Peg in 1995. Lynn holds a master's degree in business administration from George Washington University, and brings to MTM's Board of Directors more than 30 years of management experience in the medical field, social services, and with managed care organizations.

Does Alabama Medicaid pay for transportation? ›

Medicaid's NET program is set up to help pay for rides to and from a doctor's office, clinic or other place for medical care. The ride can be in your own personal car, a car of a friend, neighbor or family member, or on a bus or a van. You can also get a ride on a city bus or from a group in your town or area.

Can I use Alabama Medicaid in another state? ›

No. Medicaid coverage does not transfer from state to state. In order to be eligible for Medicaid in Alabama you cannot be eligible in another state.

Can you get emergency Medicaid in Alabama? ›

Medicaid pays for emergency outpatient services when there is a certified emergency. A certified emergency is when a person has a serious health problem that he or she reasonably believes could cause serious damage to your health or your body if you do not get medical care right away.

How much is an ambulance ride with Medi-Cal? ›

The amendment, 22-0015, raises the reimbursement rate that Medi-Cal will pay for ambulance rides by over $800 per trip. A Medi-Cal patient's ambulance ride will now cost state taxpayers over $1,000 per trip, up from about $120 per trip.

How do senior citizens get around? ›

Ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft give seniors access to a car, anywhere if they have a smartphone. If the senior isn't comfortable with a smartphone, their loved ones can order the ride from their smartphone.

Does Medi-cal cover ambulance ride? ›

Medi-Cal covers ambulance and non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) only when ordinary public or private conveyance is medically contra-indicated and transportation is required for obtaining needed medical care. Non-medical transportation (NMT) is used for a recipient to obtain covered Medi-Cal services.

Does Florida Medicaid cover ambulance services? ›

Florida Medicaid's Covered Services and HCBS Waivers

Medicaid reimburses for medically necessary emergency ground or air ambulance transportation. This service is one of the minimum covered services for all Managed Medical Assistance, Long-Term Care, and Comprehensive Long-Term Care plans serving Medicaid enrollees.

What number do I call for Florida Medicaid? ›

If you have questions, please call 1-877-711-3662, TDD 1-866-467-4970, Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. The call is free. Text your enrollment or frequently asked questions to 357662. Click here to create a FL Medicaid Member Portal account and send a secure message.

What is the website for Florida Medicaid? ›

Individuals may apply for assistance online at: www.myflorida.com/accessflorida/ Additional information about Medicaid for low income families is available in the Family-Related Medicaid Fact Sheet.

Is Medicaid a insurance? ›

Created in 1965, Medicaid is a public insurance program that provides health coverage to low-income families and individuals, including children, parents, pregnant women, seniors, and people with disabilities; it is funded jointly by the federal government and the states.

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