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Currently, over 75 million Americans are covered by Medicaid. Two million people delayed cared in 2017 because they were not able to make it to their appointments. Right now, Uber is only working with Medicaid in Arizona; where as, Lyft is working in 35 states with Medicaid programs or organizations to supply rides to and from Medicaid appointments.
There are different ways of using rideshares for Medicaid enrollees. Uber and Lyft don’t operate the same way for Medicaid enrollees as they do for the traditional rideshare passenger. Instead of using a smartphone to order an Uber or Lyft, the passenger will request a ride through their Medicaid transportation broker or health plan by computer or phone call. Rides ordered the traditional way, through a smartphone app, will not be covered. Arizona recently relaxed their regulations. Over the summer of 2019, over 15% of all rides taken by Medicaid enrollees used Uber or Lyft. It isn’t a cheaper option, but it frees up specialized vehicles to focus on passengers requiring them. LogistiCare uses Lyft to help alleviate their Medicaid related transportation needs, and have seen a huge increase in the speed of their service. Each Medicaid transportation broker decides if ridesharing is a possible means of transportation for each of their enrollees based on their individual medical information. It doesn’t completely solve the transportation problem, but it is helping many Medicaid enrollees.
More states and organizations are reaching out to Lyft and Uber to help alleviate the demand. As the partnership continues to be a success throughout states, the likelihood that more states will adopt Lyft and Uber as a means of transportation for their able bodied enrollees is high. Uber is currently working to train a fleet of drivers in specific areas to help accommodate people with scooters, wheelchairs, and other equipment. The ultimate goal is to help states and Medicaid programs save money and make the process faster and easier for people to receive the care they need.
This has been a joint effort made by Lyft and Uber along with the states. States have had to relax state regulations on transportation services and drivers in order for this partnership to work. The companies are not able to transport all Medicaid recipients because of the lack of drivers with the needed equipment, but they are able to provide rides to many, helping alleviate the costs and allowing people to live their healthiest lives.