In order to cut down on missed medical appointments, insurance provider Blue Cross Blue Shield and car sharing provider Lyft are partnering up for the greater good.
These two companies have established a pilot program that focuses on getting senior citizens rides to their medical appointments. BCBS noticed that, despite having adequate medical insurance, many seniors are living without a reliable means of transportation.
In fact, Healthcare DIVE reports that 3.6 million Americans miss their scheduled medical appointments every year simply because they don’t have a way to get there. It is not that they forget, rather they have no way of making it on time. These missed doctor’s appointments have quite the negative effect on the economy, as they cost the American healthcare system $150 billion every single year.
For perspective, these numbers translate to about 62 no-show appointments at community hospitals every single day.
BCBS is quick to point out that despite millions of seniors actually having health care, for some it can be just too hard to access it from their home’s location. So they will provide certain health care enrollees a no-cost option to get rides via Lyft. The service will be made only available to specific BCBS customers, and while the terms of exactly who will be included have not been released, this service will be completely separate from Lyft’s principle car service.
So how will it work? While BCBS and Lyft haven’t released all the details, BCBS has a database of 106 million users and classifies users by zip code. In doing this, they can track exactly who isn’t making it to their appointments. The patient will schedule a ride via their medical care provider, which will then dispatch a driver to their home, allowing them to get to their doctor on time. All expenses for Lyft will be covered by their insurance plan.
If the pilot program is successful, the partnership hopes to include more patients from all health insurance backgrounds such as those on government funded Medicare and Medicaid.
BCBS and Lyft are expected to roll out this service by the end of the year. They hope that in doing this, they will see not only personal health care increasing but a stronger focus on the community as a whole.
“Lyft has been working closely with healthcare providers to get more people to the doctor when they need it, and a partnership this size with [Blue Cross Blue Shield] allows us to reach all 50 states,” Lyft president John Zimmer said in a statement, as reported by Forbes. “This type of cross-industry partnership is a critical way to help make our communities stronger and families healthier.”