It’s almost inevitable that you will require medical transportation at some point as you age. But did you know some of that is easily covered by Medicare? It’s true! But it’s not the default, and you may not be eligible under certain circumstances.

Below, we’ll go into more detail about which medical transportation services are and are not covered by your Medicare health insurance benefits.

Medical Transportation Services Under Medicare

If you find yourself in the middle of an urgent health crisis that results in inpatient hospitalization, those costs are easily paid for by Medicare Part A.

Transportation Services Covered Under Medicare Part A

Just be aware that you will have to pay your $1,556 Medicare Part A deductible for each benefit period. This deductible will go towards paying for the health care costs of ambulance services should you require ground transportation to get to the nearest emergency department.

Transportation Services Covered Under Medicare Part B

This next bit of news may come as a surprise to some, but Medicare Part B will also pay for medical transportation services. Even if it is not an emergency — but you and your doctor can prove that it is still medically necessary — you could get your transportation if any of the following apply to you:

  • You’re seeking medically necessary outpatient treatment at a hospital
  • You need outpatient treatment at a critical access hospital
  • If you need transportation coverage to a skilled nursing facility
  • If you require airplane/helicopter transportation from one facility to another

These health care costs are a little more straightforward. All you have to pay is your annual $233 Medicare Part B deductible (if you haven’t paid it already) as well as 20% of the Medicare-approved amount of your transportation costs.

States Where You Could Pay Out of Pocket for Medical Transporation Under Medicare

Beneficiaries who reside in certain states may have to pay for their transportation costs out of pocket if:

  • You require non-emergency ambulance services for three or more round trips within a 10-day window
  • You require non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) more than once a week for three weeks or more

These states/territories include:

  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Maryland
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • North Carolina
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas
  • Alabama
  • California
  • Georgia
  • Guam
  • Hawaii
  • Nevada
  • Tennessee

Medical Transportation Services Covered Under Medicare Advantage

Depending on what type of Medicare Advantage plan you have, you could face the same costs for non-emergency ambulance transportation that you would with Original Medicare. Or, you may have access to other, less expensive options. Medicare.gov has more information should you require it.

Does Medicare cover Uber or Lyft rideshare services?

There are some Medicare Advantage plans available now which will let you take advantage of Lyft or Uber. You can use these rideshare services for things like doctor’s appointments or outpatient facilities where they administer physical therapy, for example.

For obvious legal reasons, it’s not a good idea to call a ride-sharing service if you think you are having a medical emergency. But if you’re seeking non-emergency care at an outpatient facility for medical appointments, this could be a cheaper and much more convenient option than what you might be able to get with Original Medicare.

Medical Transportation Services Covered Under Medigap

Out of the 10 standardized Medicare supplement insurance plans available to Medicare beneficiaries, none of them have specific benefits for medical transportation.

However, all of them will cover the 20% coinsurance cost of any medically necessary but non-emergency transportation you require. Just be sure to read the fine print on plans K and L. Plan K only covers 50% of your car insurance costs, while Plan L will cover slightly more at 75%.

FAQs

Does Medicare cover transportation?

Yes, Medicare will cover medical transportation services under Part A. Under certain circumstances, Medicare Part B covers the costs of transportation benefits as well, but you will need to check to make sure.

How much does Medicare pay for medicare transport?

You’ll have 100% coverage under Part A minus the benefit period deductible. You’ll have 80% coverage under Part B minus the annual deductible. If you have a Medigap plan then the remaining 20% will be covered. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll need to reach out to the carrier directly to find out how much you’ll have to pay out of pocket.

What are the two types of Medicare transportation services offered?

The two types of Medicare transportation services offered are emergency and non-emergency transportation services. In order to take advantage, these must be medically necessary services.

Does Medicare cover transportation for dialysis?

Medicare will only cover transportation options for dialysis at a medical facility if it’s determined that driving yourself would be potentially harmful to your health. End-Stage Renal Disease sufferers usually require dialysis to stay alive.

How to Get Help with Coverage for Medical Transportation Services Under Medicare

Calling for help can be scary and confusing if you need emergency or non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) but aren’t sure whether it’s an emergency or not.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have some peace of mind knowing that your specific Medicare plan has you covered no matter what? That’s what we specialize in.

Call us today so that we can help you figure out which Medicare plans and services will help protect you from taking on an unexpected amount of medical debt due to medical transportation costs. You can also complete our online rate form to get rates now.

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by Lindsay Malzone, Lindsay Malzone is the Medicare expert for Medigap.com. She's been contributing to many well-known publications as an industry expert since 2017. Her passion is educating Medicare beneficiaries on all their supplemental Medicare options so they can make an informed decision on their healthcare coverage.