How Does the Healthcare Industry View Non-Emergency Medical Transportation? 

SafeRide Health conducted a first-of-its-kind industry survey to find out. Spoiler alert: Transportation matters (a lot). 

Non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) is crucial for people who need help getting to their medical appointments—ask any Medicaid or Medicare Advantage enrollee who doesn’t have reliable access to a vehicle, a ride from a friend or family member, or to public transportation.  

NEMT is also an attractive opportunity for investors, with growth fueled by an aging population, a bigger emphasis on social determinants of health (SDoH), and efficiencies created by integrating rideshare into medical transportation. The North American NEMT industry is projected to reach $15 billion by 2028.  

Despite NEMT’s growth and transportation’s clear role as a determinant of health, there has been very little research conducted on medical transportation.  

That’s why SafeRide Health recently set out to conduct the industry’s first-ever NEMT survey: To see how health plan and healthcare employees view medical transportation in the broader scheme of their members’ healthcare and lives. At SafeRide, we know NEMT plays a crucial role, because we hear it from our health plan clients and members every day. But do others see the value?  

The short answer: Yes.

We asked nearly 100 professionals from the nation’s largest health plans and the broader healthcare industry what challenges their members face, the most promising tools to address those challenges, and what opportunities they see when it comes to members’ transportation benefit. Respondents represented a range of health plans and healthcare organizations, from those that insure thousands of lives to those that insure more than a million.  

What did they say?

Among a range of challenges that health plan and healthcare employees face—improving member experiences, improving operational efficiency, mitigating rising costs, etc.—the one cited as most likely to keep them up at night (named by 66% of respondents) was addressing social determinants of health that create barriers to care. Further, 84% said that transportation to medical care creates the greatest barrier to care.  

Other questions included in the survey included:

  • How important is benefit personalization to meet people’s needs?  
  • Does your organization adequately fund programs and initiatives to address barriers to care?
  • What are the biggest areas of improvement needed in the NEMT space?
  • Do members know they are eligible to receive the NEMT benefit?  
  • How are members typically accessing their NEMT benefit? How do you want them to access their benefit?  

At SafeRide, we’re committed to using these insights to improve access to care for millions of people across the nation. That includes a fully digitized transportation network, a commitment to industry-leading member experiences, growing self-service options to enable member autonomy and dignity, and full transparency with on-demand data to ensure SafeRide and our health plan partners can continually monitor and improve NEMT performance.  

To see the full results of SafeRide Health’s NEMT Industry survey, download the report here.  

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