Imagine missing doctor's appointment after doctor's appointment because you don't have reliable transportation. Medical care is out of walking or biking distance and the public transit does not reach that area either.
One major health insurance company wants to fix this issue for their customers who face these types of challenges. Soon, these customers will be able to get free rides to "appointments for non-emergency medical care."
Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS), a health care company that provides coverage to 106 million Americans, recently announced a nationwide partnership with Lyft, which is a popular ride-sharing app. The free rides with Lyft will be for patients who live in "areas without optimal transportation alternatives servicing health care facilities."
"We are committed to addressing issues like transportation that are inextricably linked to health outcomes, yet can’t be tackled through health care resources alone," said Dr. Trent Haywood, who is the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association's chief medical officer and president of the BCBS Institute. According to BCBS, about 3.6 million American miss or delay medical appointments because of issues with transportation.
This new service will be rolling out over the next few months. According to Forbes, members will schedule rides through their health care provider and not Lyft.
BCBS said it won't cost the members anything. So not only will the members using Lyft not pay for rides but presumably, premiums won't increase either.
The health insurance company hasn't outlined how Lyft drivers will get paid for these rides. It's possible that BCBS will foot the bill because patients are attending these appointments for preventative care, and therefore they are saving money in the long run.