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Uber and Lyft will give you free rides to the doctor

Uber and Lyft will give you free rides to the doctor
© Vitaliy Pozdeev | Dreamstime.com

It's not really an emergency, but you need to go to the doctor. Money is tight, driving yourself isn't going to happen, and unfortunately, you don't know anyone who is free to take you. Many people just don't make appointments with a doctor or are no-shows because they can't get there.

For those of us with full-time jobs and aging parents, it's stressful to figure out how they're going to get to the appointments they need. Often, they need multiple visits a month and that can be a major financial burden.

That does not mean you are out of luck, though. Turns out, you may have more options than you think as ride-sharing companies are joining forces with health partners to help.

Making it easy for those who could use the help

You may not have known this, but non-emergency medical transportation companies Circulation, CareMore Health System, American Medical Response and Hitch health have turned to ride-sharing companies like Lyft and Uber to help patients who are unable to get to their health care appointments, either because of financial struggles or other reasons. And for many, Medicare, Medicaid and health care plans cover the cost of the rides.

There is a difference between hailing a regular Lyft or Uber and getting a medically approved ride, you do not get a free ride to the doctor by pressing a few buttons on your phone. Rather, medical transportation companies set things up through the ride-sharing apps, taking care of all the planning so that you can worry less and make it to your appointment on time.

No-shows cost everyone

Non-emergency medical transportation has long been a business, but traditional ways of getting patients around, like taxis, are costly, inefficient and unreliable. Patients not showing up to their scheduled appointments costs the health care industry millions of dollars each year, and long wait times undoubtedly frustrate even the most patient of individuals.

Contracting out a Lyft or Uber is cheaper than most traditional options. Another benefit is both ride-sharing companies have the necessary technology and resources to make the process of getting patients to appointments in a timely manner, much smoother.

As always, Lyft and Uber are competing with each other in this space, meaning the consumer will be the one who wins. Lyft's latest move was partnering with Health Hitch, which has the technology that can identify patients who will most likely need a ride. The system was tested for six months, with the companies focusing most on low-income, uninsured patients, or patients who had no legitimate mode of transportation.

Technology may be why you need to see a doctor

There can be side effects to our addiction to smartphones, video games, televisions, and computer monitors. Click here to see some of the ways technology can impact our bodies.

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