Home health care transportation services are add-on services by some home health care agencies. These services are not covered by Medicare, so those who require assistance with transportation to and from medical appointments will have to pay out of pocket for the services.
How Home Health Care Transportation Services Work
Home health care agencies that offer transportation services usually contract it through another business. This could be a local transportation service that often helps seniors with rides to different places around town.
Seniors then call the home health care agency or the transportation service provider to schedule the pick up and/or drop off. The cost of it is factored into the home health care agency’s charges to the senior.
Many people are confused about why transportation isn’t part of the services provided by home health care. The reason is that people who receive home health care need medical care from skilled professionals, such as doctors, nurses, and therapists. Read Home Health Care Services or In Home Health Care Services for more information about it.
Home care or senior care services are different. They do not include medical care. It’s more for seniors who need assistance to get through each day safely and healthy. This includes transportation.
Medicare Transportation Services
Original Medicare – Part A and Part B – do not cover transportation to doctor appointments.
The good news is that some Medicare Advantage plans may cover transportation to doctor’s appointments. Since every Medicare Advantage plan is different from a private insurance, it’s important to ask about medical transportation before choosing a Medicare Advantage plan.
Medicare may cover non-emergency ambulance transportation to and from a healthcare provider. The treating physician must provide a written order verifying the ambulance transportation is medically necessary. The order must state the health condition could be affected by other forms of transportation.
Home Care Services for Transportation
Home care services, which are non-medical based, often include transportation. A home care agency provides many personal care assistance. This includes taking seniors to run errands, go to doctor’s appointments, and even to the grocery store.
Non-medical based home care services are not covered by Medicare, but may be covered by Medicaid for those who qualify. Medicaid is a state-run program and is for those who are elderly and/or suffer from a disability AND have very low income. Most people do not qualify for Medicaid because their income is over the limit. Check with your local social services department for the qualifications in your state.
Other Options for Senior Transportation
With the explosion of pay per ride services nationwide, such as Uber and Lyft, many seniors have been able to get around their towns much easier.
Taxis are still available in most areas and can sometimes be much cheaper than Uber and Lyft because they are not being utilized as often.
Senior centers often provide transportation to its members. If you’re not part of a senior center, it may be a good idea. There are many advantages to attending a senior center regularly.
Public transportation may be an option in urban settings. Churches also may provide transportation to local seniors, so check with them.
So, even though home health care transportation services may not be covered by Medicare, there are many other options for rides. Start with Medicaid to see if that is a possibility, and if not, call area senior centers, churches, and even medical centers/hospitals. If those resources don’t help, consider Uber or Lyft.
This article was written by Marcelina Hardy and was last updated on .