Lyft is moving into the Medicaid space following an announcement this morning that the rideshare company has landed approval as a Medicaid provider in Arizona, specifically as a non-emergency medical transportation service. This new approval means that Arizona Medicaid patients will have the option to use Lyft to get to and from medical appointments.
The company claims that this makes it the first major ride sharing platform to get the designation nationwide. While the latest news focuses on Arizona, in a statement the company was quick to point out that it is looking to expand this type of care into other states, naming Florida and Texas in particular, as they have both recently passed laws allowing ridesharing as Medicaid transportation option.
WHY IT MATTERS
This announcement opens up the door to a new population having access to Lyft for medical transportation. It has the potential to impact the roughly 23% of Arizona’s population, which is enrolled in Medicaid, according to a statement.
“We are proud to be the first Medicaid program in the country to establish an innovative regulatory approach that seamlessly offers rideshare as a non-emergency medical transportation option for Medicaid beneficiaries, who do not require special assistance during transport to and from medical appointments. This is a significant step forward in medical transportation services and we look forward to seeing its positive impact,”Jami Snyder, director of Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (the state's Medicaid program), said in a statement.
The Medicaid population is often left out of health innovation, Vanessa Mason, who works as the research director at Institute for the Future told MobiHealthNews in May. However, she noted that there is great potential to create tools for this demographic.
“Given the size of Medicaid, it covers — depending on what point you are counting — 17 million Americans, obviously all living in low income. A lot of them children,” Mason said at the time. “Look at the breadth of health needs, combined with a lot of the social, behavioral and environmental challenges that a lot of the [patients] covered by Medicaid [experience], especially with the expansion. I think it has been under invested in, and underrepresented in … the digital health space.”
THE LARGER TREND
Lyft has been making its way into the medical transportation field for some time now. In February, the company announced that it would be expanding two existing partnerships to bring non-emergency medical transport services to Medicare Advantage plans.
Lyft has also made a slew of deals with other non-emergency medical transport services including Circulation (now part of LogistiCare).