A Bright Spot for Medicaid in Florida

With a 98% fulfillment rating in the Sunshine State, SafeRide Health is improving non-emergency medical transportation, one member at a time.

Florida often appears in the news for its healthcare coverage of low-income residents—and not always in a good way.  

The state’s Medicaid program currently has about 4.4 million enrollees. Over the past year, the state has disenrolled 1.8 million adults and children as part of the post-pandemic eligibility redetermination process. Some of those people might still qualify for the low-income healthcare program but have been dropped for “procedural” or red-tape reasons—and Florida has declined to use federally approved strategies that might have helped eligible people keep their coverage.  

The state’s redetermination process has prompted a class-action lawsuit by residents who argue the state did not give them adequate notice before dropping them from Medicaid.  

Children and youth are especially at risk, with data showing that nearly 600,000 Florida children lost Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage in 2023.  There’s concern that some of those children should still qualify for Medicaid or CHIP, given the lower income threshold for children versus adults: In Florida, children are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP if their family income is up to 200% of the federal poverty level; parents qualify if they earn up to 28% of the federal poverty level. Childless adults under 65 or those who are not disabled currently don’t qualify for Medicaid in Florida, where state officials haven’t expanded Medicaid after passage of the Affordable Care Act.  

Improving Quality of Care for Florida Medicaid Enrollees

While healthcare advocates are working to ensure that at-risk Florida families don’t lose Medicaid coverage if they still qualify, the state’s managed care plans are focused on delivering high-quality care for current members and helping existing or potential enrollees apply for coverage.

For example, Sunshine Health, a Centene subsidiary, recently announced a partnership with Cityblock, a company that provides value-based primary care for people with complex needs. Cityblock will offer care for Medicaid enrollees in 11 central Florida counties at clinics, virtually, or in members’ homes, aiming to reduce emergency department visits and improve quality of care and member engagement.  

All of Florida’s managed care plans are integrating a new Final Rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that strengthens standards to ensure beneficiaries have timely access to care—for example, mandating a maximum wait time of 15 days for primary care—as well as state monitoring and enforcement efforts. That includes the use of secret shopper surveys and annual managed care plan member experience surveys.  

Improving Non-Emergency Medical Transportation for Better Access to Care

One tool to ensure members can access high-quality care is their Medicaid-covered transportation benefit. It helps Medicaid plan members get to medical appointments as well as other resources that help address social determinants of health. They can get rides to pick up a prescription, go to the grocery store, go to the gym, etc. Transportation plays a key role in ensuring people get the preventive care they need, take their medicine as prescribed, exercise regularly, have access to nutritious food—all to help them stay healthier and avoid ER visits.  

Unfortunately, non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) has seen its share of challenges in Florida over the past several years. Medicaid plan members have reported chronic no-show rides, fraudulent transportation providers, and dangerous drivers—trends that SafeRide Health worked to reverse when it began offering Medicaid-covered transportation in the state.  

SafeRide Health started serving Florida residents in 2023 and currently operates in dozens of Florida counties. SafeRide has redefined NEMT service for those residents, and the performance metrics tell the story. For example:  

  • In the state’s new Medicaid Region C, on Florida’s west coast, which includes Pasco and Pinellas counties, SafeRide had a 100% fulfillment rate in 2023 and average ride rating of 5/5 for members who filled out a survey after their ride.  
  • In Region F, in southwest Florida, SafeRide is providing transportation in three counties and had a 96.8% fulfillment rate and average 5/5 ride rating in 2023.  
  • In both Broward and Miami-Dade counties, the state’s most populous counties, fulfillment rates were 100%. The average ride rating was 4.9/5 in Broward and 5 in Miami-Dade.  

Overall, SafeRide Health had a 98% average fulfillment rate, 97% on-time performance rate, and average ride rating of 4.87/5.  

This is just a fraction of the data that SafeRide tracks and shares with its health plan partners, ensuring an industry-leading level of service across all aspects of the transportation experience, from scheduling and fulfillment to member experience and client success. Care providers, care coordinators, or family members can schedule rides for members; alternatively, members can schedule their own rides through the SafeRide Member Portal, with rides tailored to their plan benefits and unique needs.  

Behind the scenes, SafeRide’s technology-first approach enables a digitized network so transportation is delivered as efficiently and affordably as possible, addressing unanticipated challenges almost immediately. It’s all in service of SafeRide’s mission: transforming health outcomes for America’s most vulnerable by ensuring access to life-sustaining healthcare. We provide the right ride for the right member at the right time.  

Find out more about SafeRide’s ability to create real-time insights, raising the bar for NEMT across the healthcare industry.  

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