Medicare Plans Will Expand Transportation Services To Seniors

Medicare plans have rules. Now it intends to make a change that will help senior citizens. Specifically, it will change how it pays for emergency ambulance services for senior citizens. Seniors will have more options besides just going to a hospital emergency department.



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Medicare Plans: Seniors Transportation Options

Under current rules, Medicare will  pay for an ambulance only if the patient is going to a hospital. In addition, transportation to rehab centers, nursing homes and dialysis facilities, is also allowed.


The new change would give seniors several alternatives, including going to an urgent care center or a doctor’s office. Most importantly, treatment at home under the supervision of a doctor via telehealth links will also be added for seniors who are travel impaired.


Right now it is working as a pilot, but if adopted nationwide, it can save Medicare more than $500 million a year. An additional benefit is that it willow allow fire departments and ambulance services to focus first responders time on the most serious emergencies.


Medicare officials said this pilot program will be carefully evaluated. Several organizations such as AARP, and the Alzheimer’s Association are in favor of this pilot program becoming permanent.


This change will still allow seniors the option to go to an emergency room if they so choose.


In addition, later this year, Medicare will also announce up to 40 grants available to local agencies that operate 911 dispatch centers. This specific pilot program would run for two years.


The pilot program idea came out of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, created under the Obama health care law to improve quality and reduce wasteful spending. Although President Trump intends to repeal of the Affordable Care Act, his administration has now cooperated with the center to cut costs and help seniors receive services that will improve their quality of life.

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