- With more flexible benefits in Medicare Advantage plans, rideshare platform Lyft has upgraded its Concierge product to better support the needs of medical facilities and patients.
- The upgrade, announced Thursday, comes as Lyft is expanding its collaborations with Blue Cross Blue Shield Institute and LogistiCare to bring provide nonemergency medical transportation to MA plan members.
- Currently, about a third of Lyft riders use the app for medical appointments, according to the company.
With CMS recently announcing even more opportunities for MA plans to provide nonmedical supplemental benefits to patients with chronic illnesses, Lyft is likely just one of many companies hoping to capitalize.
Following publication of the 2018 rule allowing MA plans to include such benefits, Lyft was enthusiastic about the opportunity. "This new flexibility will allow us to partner even more dynamically with MA plans to not just help seniors suffering from chronic health conditions get to their health appointments, but to more broadly leverage our platform to remove transportation barriers and encourage healthy and active living," Lauren Belive, director of federal government relations at Lyft, told Healthcare Dive via email in June.
Still, studies are mixed on the impact of ridesharing services on patient health outcomes. In a study last year in JAMA Internal Medicine, just 26% of patients who were offered ridesharing services if their prescheduled appointment fell through took up the offer. More striking was lack of improvement in missed appointment rates — 36.5% in the intervention group versus 36.7% in the controls.
More partnerships could help by providing more data on who uses rideshares for healthcare and what models work best.
Starting later this year, Lyft will expand its collaboration with BCBS Institute to include members of some BCBS MA plans, offering rides to doctor appointments, pharmacies and fitness centers. The company is also expanding its partnership with LogistiCare to provide similar services for certain Humana MA plans.
The Concierge upgrade enables riders to make automated calls without smartphones, a nod to seniors who may be less likely to own the devices. Other changes include upfront pricing for comparative shopping and greater transparency and a new user-friendly format for use on tablets, the company said.