- Cigna-Health Spring is partnering with rideshare company Lyft to facilitate transportation to and from doctors and pharmacies for customers in select Medicare Advantage plans, the company announced Thursday.
- Since the collaboration took off in May, Lyft has provided more than 14,500 nonemergency rides to customers in Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and the District of Columbia.
- Meanwhile, MedStar’s partnership with Uber, now in its second year, has lowered transportation costs to 60% of the cost of a cab ride, extending the reach of the nonemergency transport budget by 40%, Advisory Board reported.
The Cigna-Healthspring service is available for ambulatory customers in non-emergencies only. Users’ benefit plans must include supplemental non-emergent medical transport through Access2Care at no additional cost.
The Medicare Advantage provider said 92% of members who have used Lyft have made it their preferred means of transportation.
With the move to outcomes-based care, providers are focusing on keeping whole patient populations healthy, and part of that effort includes improving transportation. Each year, about 3.6 million people in the U.S. miss or put off medical care because of transportation-related issues. To hospitals, that's potential revenue not showing up.
Research puts the average no-show rate for community hospitals at 62 appointments per day, at an annual cost of $3 million. For teaching hospitals, no-show and late-arrival rates averaged 25% and 31%, respectively.
To cut down on missed appointments, a number of hospitals and health systems, as well as payers have signed on with ride-sharing companies. Among them are New Jersey’s HackensackUMC, which partnered with Uber, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield, which is using Lyft to get people to their doctor appointments.
The potential to reduce costs is also significant. The federal government spends roughly $2.7 billion a year on nonemergency medical transport. According to an opinion piece in the Journal of the American Medical Association, those costs could be reined in with rideshare programs like Uber and Lyft.