Lyft News

Addressing Health and Wellbeing Through Better Transportation

Amy Westhagen - Feb 7, 2019
A hospital building and pharmacy building with lines connecting them to show ride routes.

Since 2016, Lyft has been focused on reimagining the way healthcare organizations and their patients get around. Every year, over 3.6 million people can’t get the care they need due to a lack of transportation — an issue we are uniquely positioned to address through our work with leading organizations across the healthcare ecosystem and through the size of our network. Insights from our annual Economic Impact Report show that Lyft as a solution for non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) is growing in demand, with nearly one-third of all Lyft passengers reportedly using Lyft to get to or from a medical-related appointment.

As we continue to develop solutions that address access to transportation, we are pleased to announce plans to expand our collaboration with Blue Cross Blue Shield Institute, a subsidiary and independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), and expand our work with LogistiCare to encompass certain Humana Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. To support this growth, we’ve also upgraded our Concierge product to address the needs of both healthcare facilities and patients.

Transportation as a Key Social Determinant of Health

One of the key social determinants of health is access to services and programs that promote health and wellbeing. Transportation is the key to unlocking that access — and ridesharing is the most cost effective, reliable, safe, and convenient option.

In April 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced new flexibility for MA plans to innovate with services that promote member health and wellness. Beginning in the 2019 plan year, MA plans have an even broader canvas for addressing social determinants of health, primarily through new flexibilities in benefit design that allow innovative payers to broaden the scope of services to include transportation.

Here at Lyft, we’ve seen the positive impact transportation can have not just on costs and operational efficiencies, but also on overall health. Early results from an ongoing study with USC/AARP/UHC show that when participating seniors were provided with unlimited access to Lyft for three months, they increased their physical activity by 35 percent and self-reported a 90 percent increase in quality of life. By adding Lyft to its MA transportation benefit, CareMore Health was able to reduce its average ride cost by 39 percent and lower wait times by 45 percent. These partnerships demonstrate the considerable potential to create improved health outcomes and cost savings as a result of better access to transportation, through innovative plan design for both commercial and MA plans.

Addressing Holistic Health Outcomes With Innovative Partners

We’ve been working with BCBS Institute since 2017 to directly tackle the problem of missed medical appointments due to lack of transportation by providing Lyft rides to its commercial plan members who live in transportation deserts — areas with limited access to reliable transportation options. We extended this offering in 2018 to include rides to and from pharmacies for prescription medication pick-up.

And now, with the new benefit design flexibility in MA, BCBS Institute will expand the partnership to members of certain BCBS MA plans beginning later this yearproviding rides to-and-from medical appointments, the pharmacy and fitness centers. This is big news for seniors, as Lyft is able to provide transportation for a broader range of health needs.

“Lyft has been an incredible partner as we’ve worked to leverage their platform to deliver innovative services that improve the health and satisfaction of our members, while reducing healthcare costs," said Dr. Trent Haywood, president, BCBS Institute. "We're eager to expand our already successful partnership with Lyft from our commercial plans to some of our BCBS MA plans this summer - providing even more members with improved access to services that will help improve their health and quality of life."

Two years ago, Lyft and LogistiCare joined forces to provide NEMT services to the hundreds of cities in which both companies operated. Now, as we expand our relationship with the nation’s largest NEMT provider, we are working to extend our platform to members of select Humana MA plans, through LogistiCare, with the potential to provide rides not just to and from medical appointments, but also to pharmacies, and fitness centers.

"At Humana, we understand that health is about more than what happens in the doctor's office - many other social factors, like transportation, can have a direct impact on health and well-being," said Alan Wheatley, president of Humana's Retail Segment. "Our goal in working with LogistiCare and Lyft is to innovate in ways that translate directly into improved health and a better healthcare experience for the Medicare Advantage members we serve."

Evolving Our Health Care Product

As part of our continued commitment to ensure transportation is not a limiting factor of health care access, especially for MA plan members, Lyft has upgraded the Concierge product experience to introduce automated calls for riders without smartphones, because less than half of people over the age of 65 have a smartphone. Updates also include upfront pricing, for mode comparison and to provide total cost transparency to those booking rides, and a tailored experience for using tablets on the go.  

We know that scaling investments and partnerships for innovative transportation models will improve health outcomes, decrease costs for patients, payers, and the government, and combat social isolation. We look forward to partnering with MA plans around the country to leverage the flexibility provided by CMS to test and make these new models a reality for patients.