Medicaid covers health care services for low-income Americans, many of whom have chronic diseases and lack access to reliable transportation. Without regular access to health care providers by NEMT, treatable conditions can escalate into more serious and expensive conditions. This results in expensive hospitalizations and nursing home stays that add unnecessary costs to the Medicaid program that access to inexpensive medical transportation could have prevented.
Medicaid health care providers also benefit from NEMT because reliable access to medical transportation means their patients do not miss appointments, stay healthier and do not require more intensive and expensive healthcare services. Federal rules require states to provide no or low-cost NEMT for most Medicaid beneficiaries, but a few states have received waivers to curtail the benefit, and some others are considering doing so. Actions like this have the potential to hurt Medicaid beneficiaries, hurt Medicaid providers and cost taxpayers money in the long-run.