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Medicare Transportation Services

Summary: Medicare transportations services is available when medically necessary. However, with Original Medicare you will still be responsible for certain costs. Estimated Read Time: 4 min

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Medicare plans provide options for coverage of medical transportation services. As you age, it may become difficult to transport yourself to and from medical appointments, and Medicare understands this. Thus, transportation for seniors with Medicare helps tackle this issue head-on. To qualify for transportation services, you must enroll in a plan that offers the benefit. Below, we review the different types of Medicare transportation, when they are covered, and how to utilize the benefits.

Will Medicare Pay if I Need a Ride to My Doctor’s Appointment?

Original Medicare helps cover medical rides in certain situations. Medicare Part A pays for emergency trips for inpatient hospital stays. Meanwhile, Medicare Part B pays for outpatient services Medicare deems medically necessary.

The latter, Medicare Part B, covers ambulance rides to transport you in case of an emergency. An ambulance will take you to a hospital or skilled nursing facility, whichever is necessary.

Unfortunately, Original Medicare does not cover trips for routine doctor visits or appointments. The only circumstance where Original Medicare might cover your medical transportation to a doctor’s office is if you do not have a valid driver’s license or if driving is unsafe for you due to a medical condition. In this situation, you are generally responsible for paying 20% for transportation costs, while Original Medicare covers the remaining 80%.

If you decide to utilize Medicare coverage for non-emergency doctors’ appointments, you must provide written proof from your doctor that transportation is necessary. You must also sign an Advance Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage (ABN). This form states that you will be responsible for paying if Medicare does not provide coverage.

Does Medicare Advantage Provide Free Transportation to Medical Appointments?

In recent years, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) gave privately-run Medicare Advantage carriers more flexibility to expand supplemental benefits to include ridesharing options. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan and are unsure if it covers medical rides, contact your carrier.

Several Medicare Advantage plans now offer innovative benefits to Medicare enrollees, including transportation services. Depending on your plan, you may have to use a certain transportation company, or you could receive reimbursement for using travel alternatives.

Do Medicare Supplements Provide Medical Transportation?

Medicare Supplement plans only provide coverage once Original Medicare pays its portion. As a form of secondary coverage, Medicare Supplement plans do not provide you with additional benefits aside from what Original Medicare provides.

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Thus, Medicare Supplement plans do not provide medical transportation unless you cannot drive due to a medical condition or do not have a valid driver’s license and provide written proof from your physician that you require Medicare transportation services.

Non-Medicare Transportation Services for Seniors

Non-Medicare transportation services are also available for seniors who require transportation but might not meet Medicare’s criteria for receiving transportation benefits. Your city may have a local Area Agencies on Aging office nearby to help you find these services in your area. This office can help anyone aged 60 and over with gaining access to transportation. They may recommend commercial transportation options like:

  • Senior Transportation Programs
  • Lyft
  • Uber
  • GoGoGrandparent
  • SilverRide

These companies have specialized healthcare pricing to help you get to and from doctors’ appointments and reduce no-show and cancellation requests.

Does Medicare Cover Uber Rides?

In the last few years, popular ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft have provided transportation for Medicare patients with Medicare Advantage plans. Certain Medicare Advantage plans include a limited number of Uber rides to and from doctor’s appointments.

However, this depends on your Medicare Advantage coverage. It’s best to check with your provider to see if you have these benefits, as only certain plans will cover transportation. Uber launched Uber Health in 2018, allowing people to book rides their plan will cover.

Since March 2020, Uber Health has collaborated with over 1,000 partners to improve customer experience and build new features.

Does Medicare Pay for Lyft?

Some Medicare Advantage plans pay for Lyft rides. To provide medical rides to patients, Lyft has partnered with private carriers who can utilize Lyft services at a discounted cost. Consequently, those on certain Medicare Advantage plans can take medical rides via Lyft to doctor’s appointments, pharmacies, and other healthcare facilities.

Lyft reports the partnership has proven to be beneficial for people living in areas that lack public transportation. Additionally, the company released a report in 2019 showing that 29% of riders found the service useful and said it was their only means of transportation to their doctor’s appointments.

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The company stated a Medicare Advantage carrier reported a 39% decrease in ride costs, along with a 40% drop in wait times for its beneficiaries. More recently, Lyft launched another non-emergency medical transportation service.

How to Get Medicare to Pay for Your Rides

Having medical transportation services to and from your doctor’s appointments is almost as important as having a great health insurance plan. Without transportation, you would not be able to receive the care necessary to keep you healthy. At MedicareFAQ, we want to make sure you’re always able to see your doctor.

If you’re unsure if your form of medical transportation receives coverage from your current plan, call us today. Our team of Medicare agents includes some of the best in the industry. To request a comparison now, fill out our online rate form.

Kayla Hopkins

Kayla Hopkins

Content Editor
Kayla Hopkins is an accomplished writer and Medicare educator serving as the Editor of MedicareFAQ.com. Upon completing her Communications degree from Ohio University, Kayla dedicated her time to understanding the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare. With her extensive background as a Licensed Insurance Agent, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her writing.
Ashlee Zareczny

Ashlee Zareczny

Compliance Manager
Ashlee Zareczny is the Compliance Manager for MedicareFAQ. As a licensed Medicare agent in all 50 states, she is dedicated to educating those eligible for Medicare by providing the necessary resources and tools. Additionally, Ashlee trains new and tenured Medicare agents on CMS compliance guidelines. Ashlee is a Medicare expert who specializes in Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D education.

21 thoughts on "Medicare Transportation Services"

  1. Ride2md showed up 45 minutes early
    Then took 2 and a half hours to pick me up
    Both the drivers didn’t speak english
    The driver who picked me up dropped me offfirst instead of the other person whose appointment was 30 minutes earlier
    The return driver had her spanish music
    Blasting and the ac high.

    1. Sorry to hear about your experience with the drivers from Ride2MD. I would recommend reaching out the the company directly and submitting your feedback.

  2. my daughter is retired postal employee on medicare disability on dialysis 3 day a week medicare is secondary to her postal insurance. will medicare pay for transportation for dialysis as medically she is unable to drive?

    1. Hi Fannie Sue! Unfortunately, Medicare doesn’t typically cover non-emergency transportation to medical appointments. The only kind of transport Medicare covers is emergency ambulance transport to a hospital. However, there might be a local service that offers dialysis appointment transport for free or at a low cost. Your daughters dialysis center may even offer this service. If not, check with your county services or any local charity organizations.

    1. Hi Lisa, depending on the insurance company you receive coverage through, you should have been provided a phone number to contact for transportation scheduling.

  3. My cousins primary insurance is Medicare Part A and B. I don’t have a car neither does she. She does not have a CDL and suffers from severe vertigo. Her PCP referred her to another city that is about 80 miles from her residence. How can we get assistance and help getting transportation covered under her insurance?

    1. If she is covered by Medicare and does not have a driver’s license, she can receive coverage for medical transportation. She will need to contact Medicare, and provide a written letter from her physician and Medicare will grant coverage on a case-by-case basis.

  4. Hi, I have been diagnosed with Prostate Cancer and will treat it with receiving Radiation. I have to receive the treatment once a day for 18 months. I’m on Medicare and receive treatment through Kaiser. Is there a program or resource that will assist me with transportation to my daily appointments and ride back home?

    1. Bryant, you should contact your carrier to see if the plan you enrolled in offers transportation benefits.

  5. Hello, my mom has dialysis 3 days a week. The closest dialysis center is 25 miles away. Does regular Medicare pay for transportation? Please let me know. Thank you!

    1. Heather, Original Medicare will only cover rides if they are emergency rides in an ambulance or if the ride is deemed medically necessary by a physician. If your mother does not have a driver’s license or it is deemed unsafe for your mother to drive, Medicare may also cover rides in these cases.

  6. My mom broke her hip and has a follow up appointment with the ortho this week. Will Medicare pay transportation costs since we can’t get her down stairs or into a car safely? Thanks.

    1. Gretchen, to get her ride covered by Medicare, your mothers doctor will need to submit a claim pending approval. Medicare only covers the costs of rides in emergency situations or situations where it is deemed unsafe for the patient to drive.

  7. I cannot get necessary surgery for a melonoma cancer on my skull here in Bend Oregon so have been referred to OHSU in Portland Oregon, a 4 hour drive. Does or will Medicare cover cost?? If so how do I arrange it??

    1. Jack, typically Original Medicare does not cover transportation costs unless it is emergency transportation by ambulance. If you are on a Medicare Advantage plan, it would be best to review your plans benefits with the carrier to check if transportation is covered.

    1. Shelley, to get Original Medicare to pay for your Uber or Lyft rides, you must submit a Request of Medical Payment form as well as proof documenting the ride was for medical purposes to Medicare. If you are on an Advantage plan, you should contact your carrier for specific instructions on how to file the claim.

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