NEMT and Your Health: Creative Ways to Make Your Medical Appointments Without Wheels

According to those in the know, Medicaid funding comprises more than 40 percent of federal funding to states. Monies paid out by Medicaid for non-emergency transportation services amount to around $3 billion dollars of that federal funding. If you need to make medical appointments, and you don’t have a way to get to them, NEMT is something you’ll want to know more about.


Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was enacted, more Americans have access to healthcare services than ever before. The lifeline of those services, especially where low-income and disadvantaged persons are concerned, is no-cost transportation.


NEMT helps Americans stay healthy


More than three million Americans delay medical care every year due to lack of reliable transportation, says the National Conference of State Legislatures. Many are low-income families and individuals without the wherewithal to own and maintain a working vehicle. Many are without access to public transportation or are too disabled to avail themselves of such. The NCSL also notes that federal Medicaid funds occasionally cover vehicle repair and maintenance, reimbursement for fuel costs, and other expenses associated with transportation to and from non-emergency medical appointments. Medicaid may also pay for installation of adaptive automotive gear for disabled drivers who cannot afford installation themselves.


Who uses NEMT services


Thousands of Medicaid beneficiaries who live with chronic health conditions use non-emergency medical transportation services every week. Conditions considered eligible for no-cost medical transport include arthritis, asthma, cardiovascular disease and kidney problems. For dialysis patients without a reliable ride of their own, NEMT services can be a literal life-saver.


The Centers for Disease Control, or CDC, notes that more than 75 percent of the adult population over the age of 55 has at least one chronic medical condition that might qualify them for free Medicaid rides. Diabetes, angina and pulmonary lung disorders are among the commonest medical conditions attributed to Medicaid beneficiaries who arrange non-emergency rides paid for by Medicaid. Parents of school age children use NEMT services to take their little ones for checkups, vaccinations, pre-sports physicals and other non-emergency doctor visits.


Every state in the United States offers some form of Medicaid health services. According to the Code of Federal Regulations, each American state is also required to provide non-emergency transportation to those who cannot get to important medical services on their own. Bear in mind, however, that the regulations of each state are not the same. Be sure you qualify for Medicaid before arranging a NEMT ride through a federally funded transportation provider.


Other ways to get to important medical appointments


ThinkHealth notes that anyone without transportation to a doctor appointment could call on a friend or family member to take them to and fro. ThinkHealth also reminds readers that in many towns, churches and senior centers offer low-cost or no-cost transportation to and from clinics, doctors offices, dentist offices and physical therapy facilities. Taxicabs, Uber and Lyft are not free, but they can provide a transportation alternative to persons without their own cars or who are too incapacitated due to medical conditions or advanced age to navigate roadways. Simply install a smart phone app and use it to schedule timely rides to see your doctor or get your teeth cleaned.


In some cities, you can dial 211 and ask about paratransit services provided by the ADA, or Americans with Disabilities Act. Some municipalities offer reduced fares for disabled persons who wish to use buses, subways and other forms of public transportation to shuttle back and forth between medical appointments. Disabled veterans are advised to call their local VA hospital for additional information specific to military members. This sort of transportation may be available to certain military dependents, as well.


If you are a Medicaid beneficiary without a reliable ride, contact your local department of social services or contact a company in your area that provides medicare transportation. In certain situations, your health insurance provider may pay for non-emergency medical rides. Alternately, you may try contacting your health care provider and ask about government funded transportation that can get you where you need to go.


Don’t be one of the millions of American whose health fails because they put off seeing a doctor due to lack of transportation. There are many fine outfits that work tirelessly to arrange safe transport for people who need rides for non-emergency health reasons. If you qualify, you can receive medical transportation that may improve your overall health and sense of well being.


Caitlin Parry has worked in the healthcare industry for many years, and has seen many changes over those years! She writes about many aspects of health care, sharing her tips and view, thoughts and opinions around the world wide web.