Bill Passed In Florida Allows Uber And Lyft To Transport Medicaid Patients To Medical Appointments For Free

Bill Passed In Florida Allows Uber And Lyft To Transport Medicaid Patients To Medical Appointments For FreeOn Thursday, October 10, 2019, a bill (HB 411) was approved by Florida’s House of Representatives allowing ridesharing companies (e.g. Uber, Lyft) to act as a transportation service giving Medicaid patients non-emergency transportation to their medical appointments. According to HB 411 managed care providers will now arrange for these companies to transport their patients back and forth for all doctors’ appointments when they don’t need to use an ambulance.

Why Such Changes are Important

People in Florida who are trying to access their Medicaid benefits will oftentimes report that they can’t do so because they don’t have reliable transportation service. Typically, this will result in these patients either arriving late for their medical appointments or missing them all together due to the fault of traditional, non-emergency transportation services. This is the main barrier that Representative Daniel Perez and his colleagues in Florida’s House of Representatives will remove. In doing so, Medicaid patients will be able to receive better healthcare. Of course, the bill (SB 302) must still work its way through the Senate but even there it’s already passed one of its two committee stops. It only needs the Rules Committee to vote on it before it can be brought to the Senate floor.

Introducing Uber Health

Currently Uber is transporting passengers to their medical appointments. These patients are using the Uber Health platform which is a contract Uber has with Bay Care whereby they give their patients with the transportation services they require.

With this program patients talk to their managed care provider to schedule the transportation they need instead of scheduling their ride through Uber’s app or phone line. Once their ride is scheduled the patient then receives a text message providing them with all the information they need to arrive safely at their appointment.

Programs like this have yielded positive outcomes. Stanford’s Clinical Research Center discovered that this type of medical transportation can result in a huge monetary savings when compared to traditional services (around $4 billion for Medicaid). They also found that this service helps improve the patient’s experience.

Drawbacks to This new Bill

Unfortunately, not everyone is in favor of this bill. This is because critics believe this is an attempt to seize the traditional services that ambulances offer and privatize them instead. Uber says this is simply false because their platform doesn’t accommodate anyone who needs medical transportation to also provide them with care while they’re onboard (e.g. oxygen, patient monitoring). Nevertheless, before this bill is finalized it must still undergo contract negotiations with Florida’s Agency for Healthcare Administration, which is the state’s medical watchdog.


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Picture Credit: Thought Catalog