How Lyft is Improving Access to Care for Millions of US Medicaid Recipients

August 20, 2020

Almost four million people miss their medical appointments every year due to a lack of reliable transportation. To address this challenge, Lyft has been working with healthcare organizations since 2016 to get patients in need to and from their medical appointments.

Almost four million people miss their medical appointments every year due to a lack of reliable transportation. To address this challenge, Lyft has been working with healthcare organizations since 2016 to get patients in need to and from their medical appointments.

This work is even more important amid the COVID-19 crisis. The healthcare system is under immense stress and spread thin, but many non-COVID patients still need access to routine, preventative medical care. If they go without it, their health may suffer and they’re more likely to end up in an emergency room, an extended hospital stay, or with costly treatments that could have been avoided.

Over the last year, Lyft has been working with its partners to study the impact of rideshare on healthcare access and quality for Medicaid recipients, who often can’t afford other forms of transportation on their own. Today, Lyft can play an important role in improving access to preventative care, reducing the strain on overburdened emergency rooms, and providing a better overall healthcare experience.

AmeriHealth Caritas DC Improves Healthcare Utilization

AmeriHealth Caritas DC, a Medicaid plan serving more than 100,000 residents of the District of Columbia, has long recognized the importance of transportation.

“When members don’t have access to reliable or convenient transportation, they often have to take time off work and pay for child care just to get to their medical appointments,” says Keith Maccannon, Director of Marketing and Outreach at AmeriHealth Caritas DC. “That’s a very tough choice for an hourly worker, and unfortunately it often results in missed preventive screenings and delayed care, which can be drivers of poor health outcomes and increased healthcare costs over the long run.”

In 2018, AmeriHealth Caritas DC contracted with Access2Care, a non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) manager that partners with Lyft, to oversee its transportation program. The health plan evaluated the impact of Lyft for 11,400 members who used the service to get to and from routine medical appointments and urgent care between April 2018 and April 2019. Results include:

  • 40% decrease in emergency room (ER) utilization
  • 15% decrease in low acuity non-emergent (LANE) ER utilization
  • 12% decrease in ambulance utilization
  • 45% increase in compliance rate for 42 Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) measures

By working with Lyft to improve access to primary care and reduce stress on emergency rooms, AmeriHealth Caritas DC saw a significant improvement in healthcare utilization.

“We’re thrilled about the support we’re able to provide for our members,” says Jerome Schorr, Director of Quality Management for AmeriHealth Caritas DC. “This data is a strong indicator that Lyft is helping shift utilization from emergency services to primary care — a key driver of improved utilization and cost.”

Centene Boosts Member Satisfaction

As the nation’s largest health insurer for underserved populations, Centene has always been committed to removing barriers to care.

“Transportation is usually the first and last touchpoint for a consumer accessing care and has a big impact on how they engage with the healthcare system,” says Shea Long, VP of Innovation at Centene. “When rides aren’t convenient or reliable, it often results in delayed care and a disjointed member experience.”

In 2018, Centene worked with its transportation managers to launch Lyft pilot programs at four subsidiary health plans: Buckeye Health Plan (Ohio), Sunshine Health Plan (Florida), Peach State Health Plan (Georgia) and Superior Health Plan (Texas). The goal was to understand how rideshare can improve the member experience. Results to-date include:

  • 66% decrease in member-rider complaints
  • 99% on-time arrival rate
  • 85% of rides receive 5/5 stars
  • 1/5 star ratings dropped from 10% to 1%
  • Average wait time decreased from 28 minutes for a traditional NEMT ride to just seven minutes for a Lyft

By integrating Lyft into its transportation portfolio across subsidiary health plans, Centene significantly improved member satisfaction and increased appointment adherence.

“Because of this success, we have been implementing Lyft in every Medicaid market that allows rideshare,” says Long. “For some of our other products, including Medicare Advantage and Exchange, there are fewer restrictions, and we have moved aggressively to implement rideshare solutions with Lyft in those markets as well.”

Amerigroup TN Increases Access to Primary Care

Like other forward-thinking health plans, Amerigroup Tennessee (TN) is continually searching for new ways to address the social determinants of health and drive better health outcomes.

“We recognized very early that transportation could have a major impact on members’ access to healthcare,” says Robert Garnett, president of Amerigroup TN. “While we enjoy a great relationship with our NEMT provider, Tennessee Carriers, there are certain types of rides where additional capacity through rideshare can make a huge difference in closing access gaps and improving overall NEMT quality.”

In 2019, Amerigroup TN partnered with Lyft to improve access to care for its members. The health plan started with a 12-month pilot in Memphis, and given early successes, quickly moved to scale the service statewide. Results-to-date include:

  • 50% decrease in primary care gaps
  • 44% increase in primary care physician (PCP) visits
  • 90% decrease in transportation-related grievances
  • 92% of rides receive 5/5 stars

“Lyft has actually made it easier for our members to access primary care,” says Garnett. “Before, when someone wasn’t feeling well and had to schedule a ride three days in advance, that delay in seeking care meant they may end up in an emergency room or urgent care as a result. We’ve made it easier and faster for members to meet with their doctors and ultimately stay healthy.”