Transportation & Medicare
Does Medicare cover transportation?
- Medicare Part A and B may cover emergency transportation.
- Medicare Part B may cover medically necessary transportation ordered by a doctor.
- Medicare Part A and Part B do not cover non-emergency transportation to and from your doctor’s office.
- Some Medicare Advantage plans may cover trips to your doctor’s office.
- Some Medicare Advantage plans also cover rides to and from your doctor’s office or fitness center.
Although Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) does not cover transportation to and from your doctor’s office, many Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) can cover non-emergency transportation.
In fact, some Medicare Advantage plans partner with ride-sharing services to provide transportation to members.
Some Medicare Advantage plans may cover non-emergency transportation.
Medicare Advantage plans provide the same benefits as Medicare Part A and Part B combined into one simple plan.
Many Medicare Advantage plans may also offer additional benefits such as coverage for prescription drugs, and some plans may also cover things like dental and vision.
In April 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced plans to expand the list of benefits private insurance companies are allowed to cover as part of a Medicare Advantage plan.
The new expanded Medicare Advantage benefits can include things like:
- Transportation to doctor’s offices
- Wheelchair ramps
- Handrails installed in the home
- More coverage for home health aides
- Air conditioners for people with asthma
These extra benefits are offered as part of an aim to focus on more preventive health and aging-in-place benefits.
Original Medicare and non-Emergency ambulance transportation.
Medicare Part B only covers non-emergency ambulance services to the nearest medical facility that is able to provide you with appropriate care if you have a written order from your doctor saying that it is medically necessary.
If you go to a facility that is farther away, Medicare’s coverage will be based on the charge to the closest facility, and you must pay the difference.
If the ambulance company thinks that Medicare might not cover your non-emergency ambulance service, they should provide you with an Advance Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage.
Original Medicare and emergency ambulance transportation.
Medicare covers emergency ambulance transportation if you’ve had a sudden medical emergency and your health is in danger.
Medicare may pay for emergency ambulance transportation by helicopter or airplane if your condition requires rapid transportation that cannot be provided on the ground.
Coverage for emergency ambulance transportation depends on the seriousness of your condition.
In some cases, Medicare may cover transportation in an ambulance if you have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) and need ambulance transportation to and from the facility where you receive dialysis treatment.
Medicare transportation costs.
If your ambulance service is covered by Medicare, Medicare Part B typically covers 80 percent of the Medicare-approved amount, and you pay 20 percent (once your deductible is met).
In 2020, the Medicare Part B deductible is $198 per year.
Do Medicare Supplement plans cover transportation?
Medicare Supplement Insurance plans (also called Medigap) are sold by private insurance companies to work alongside your Original Medicare coverage.
For example, if your ambulance ride to the hospital is covered by Medicare Part B, some types of Medicare Supplement plans will cover your Part B deductible, and all Medigap plans provide at least some coverage for your Part B coinsurance costs.
Medicare Supplement plans and Medicare Advantage plans are very different things, and you cannot have a Medigap plan and a Medicare Advantage plan at the same time.