Does Medicare cover transportation services?

Published by Medicare Made Clear®

Some people may have a hard time getting around town as they get older. There are several reasons for this. They may not be able to drive due to declining health or eyesight. Or they can no longer afford owning a vehicle due to the costs of maintenance or insurance premiums.

If a person has no way to get to their medical appointments, grocery store, social gatherings, or anywhere else they want to go, it can affect their overall well-being.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many transportation options for older adults or people with mobility problems who don’t drive. Walking on busy streets, in freezing temperatures or on crumbling sidewalks can be hazardous. A city bus usually isn’t wheelchair-friendly, and taxi service is often expensive.

Medicare may also be an option for transportation, depending on your coverage.

Medicare may cover transportation

As mentioned above, getting to and from a doctor’s office or other health clinic may be covered by Medicare, but it really depends on the kind of coverage you have.

Original Medicare (Parts A & B) will cover transportation only in certain situations, but generally it doesn’t cover expenses when it’s a routine trip from home to your doctor. Part A may cover emergency transportation services, and Part B may cover transportation if it’s deemed medically necessary.

Medicare Advantage plan may offer special transportation benefits that will cover getting you to your doctor. Some may even cover trips to your fitness center, and trips that are for health care via Lyft or Uber. What transportation services are covered will depend 100 percent on the specific Medicare Advantage plan you have, so check with the provider to learn what’s offered and how coverage works. 

Non-Medicare transportation options

Outside of Medicare there are some communities that have developed senior-friendly transportation services. These types of programs are called senior transportation programs (STPs). Each STP is different. They may differ in size, whether they use volunteer or paid drivers, and whether they get their funding from private or public sources.

Check with your local city or county government offices to find out if your community has a transportation program set up for seniors.

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