Does Medicare Cover Transportation Services?

When Original Medicare covers the cost of a medical appointment or procedure, the last thing on your mind is how you’ll get there. Fortunately, in some cases, Medicare will cover transportation services to and from the healthcare provider – but it’s essential to understand when this benefit applies to insurance companies.

Medicare Part A provides coverage for emergency-related transportation, whereas Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers medically necessary services as part of a covered healthcare service. This includes ambulance services, medical-related van transportation, and public transportation if the medical need for transport is urgent. In some cases, Medicare can also cover taxi rides or private cars if no other transportation options are available.

To be eligible for reimbursement, you should check with your doctor or health insurance provider to see if this coverage is available. Medicare usually requires a signed written statement from your doctor explaining why the transport is medically necessary. In addition, you’ll need to provide proof of payment for the transportation costs incurred to receive Medicare coverage and additional benefits.

What types of transportation does Medicare cover?

Medicare typically covers the following types of transportation:

  • Non-emergency medical transportation: This is for routine medical appointments for individuals who cannot travel independently.
  • Emergency transportation: This includes ambulance services in a medical emergency.
  • Ambulatory patient services: For individuals who need assistance to and from their medical appointments, especially those who are wheelchair-bound or bedridden.
  • Air transportation: This is covered when the patient’s medical condition requires immediate and rapid transportation that ground transportation can’t provide.

What Types Of Transportation Does Medicare Not Cover?

While Medicare provides coverage for several types of transportation under specific situations, multiple forms of transportation are not covered.

These include:

  • Personal or leisure travel: Medicare does not cover transportation for personal needs, vacations, or leisure activities.
  • Transportation to pick up prescriptions: Although these are related to medical needs, the transport costs are not covered.
  • Non-medical related transportation: Any transportation to locations not related to medical care, such as shopping centers, social events, or family gatherings, is not covered.
  • Transportation for routine medical check-ups: Unless the individual cannot travel independently due to medical conditions, Medicare does not typically cover transportation to routine check-ups.

What Are The Qualifications For Medicare-Covered Transportation Services?

To qualify for Medicare-covered transportation services, you must be a current Medicare beneficiary and have a valid doctor’s prescription. To receive this coverage, you must provide documentation from your physician stating the medical necessity of transportation services, including your diagnosis or treatment plan. This documentation should also include information on how frequently you may need such services and the transportation services you need. In addition, your doctor must specify the location to which you will be traveling.

How Do I Get Transportation Through Medicare?

If you need transportation to and from a covered medical appointment, contact your Medicare health plan provider or visit the website of your local Area Agency on Aging. They may be able to arrange rides for you if you cannot use other public or private transportation services. It is important to note that authorization from the doctor is required for most NEMT services, so make sure to check with your doctor first.

In some cases, you may be able to use a taxi or private car if they are the only available transportation that meets your medical needs. However, Medicare does not cover the cost of hotels and meals when using NEMT services.

Bottom Line:

Medicare provides transportation services to its beneficiaries when medically necessary and cost-effective means of transportation are unavailable. Non-Emergency Medical Transportation services are covered under Original Medicare Part B and come with several criteria that must be met.

Thankfully, the required documentation processes are relatively easy to follow, and the arrangements are often made by the transportation companies that Medicare has approved.

For seniors encountering mobility issues, Medicare-covered transportation services offer the much-needed support and comfort to make it to appointments with medical professionals. Discuss eligibility with your healthcare provider and transportation companies if you are a Medicare beneficiary.

Sources: eHealthUnitedHealthcareHealthline


  • What is Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT)?

    NEMT is a type of transportation service that offers medical-related transportation coverage to and from covered medical appointments or procedures. It includes using wheelchair-equipped vans, non-ambulance medical transports, public transportation if medically necessary, taxis, and private cars.

Mark Prip

Since 2003, Mark Prip has been leading  Policy Guide, Inc., providing knowledgeable information about Medicare, life insurance, and dental coverage to clients in over forty states. With his unparalleled hands-on experience aiding countless Medicare beneficiaries in selecting an appropriate health plan, he is a prime example amongst other competitors for expertise and assistance. Mark has held his Florida Health & Life Insurance License (E051889) since 2003. View his license profile on the Florida Department of Insurance website.