“A strong case can be made that improved access to NEMT (Non-Emergency Medical Transportation) for transportation disadvantaged persons is cost-effective in terms of better healthcare. In some cases, this cost-effectiveness translates directly into decreases in healthcare costs that exceed the added transportation costs. In other cases, longer life expectancy or improved quality of life for those suffering from the studied conditions justifies the added costs of improved access to NEMT cost-effectiveness.”
2005 Transportation Research Board Analysis (https://www.mtm-inc.net/transportation-management/what-is-nemt )
One of the greatest fears of lower and middle –class Americans living on the vast rungs of the socio-economic ladder is getting severely injured and/or suffering a long term debilitating illness, in-turn falling into poverty status. With this in mind, it would behoove many taxpayers of all socio-economic levels to support social services which provide low-cost or free non-emergency transportation services to all should one ever find themselves in the types of situations where said services are needed.
In her January 2015 brief, Non-Emergency Medical Transportation: A Vital Lifeline For A Healthy Community, Amelia Meyers writes, “Approximately 3.6 million Americans miss or delay medical care because they lack appropriate transportation to their appointments. Many low-income Americans lack the disposable income necessary to have access to a working automobile, and may lack public transit options to get to and from medical appointments. Medicaid provides a nonemergency medical transportation benefit that pays for the least costly and appropriate way of getting people to their appointments whether by taxi, van, public transit or mileage reimbursement.” (Amelia Meyers, Non Emergency Medical Transportation: A Vital Lifeline For A Healthy Community, http://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/non-emergency-medical-transportation-a-vital-lifeline-for-a-healthy-community.aspx , 1/7/2015)
Since its inception, NEMT (Non-Emergency Medical Transportation) has been a federally mandated program funded by Medicaid. Medicaid recipients must meet certain eligibility requirements to receive service, and typically receive transportation at no cost.
Meyers further states in her brief, “Medicaid funds are the single largest transfer of federal money to states, representing an average of 44 percent of all federal revenue received. The transportation component is about $3 billion of that yearly fund transfer, making up less than 1 percent of total Medicaid expenditures. Though a small percentage of Medicaid overall, consistent transportation access to healthcare helps enhance the medical outcomes of Medicaid recipients and leads to cost-savings.” (Amelia Meyers, Non Emergency Medical Transportation: A Vital Lifeline For A Healthy Community, http://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/non-emergency-medical-transportation-a-vital-lifeline-for-a-healthy-community.aspx , 1/7/2015)
People, who at the present time do not require NEMT services, often forget Medicaid health plans decrease the impact of chronic disease, reduce the costs of inpatient medical treatment, and save significant healthcare funding by offering NEMT to the elderly, individuals with disabilities, and other transportation disadvantaged populations. With more medical care provided on an outpatient basis, and because of an increasing number of people with chronic conditions, non-emergency trips to medical appointments are the lifeblood of a sustainable healthcare system. By providing consistent and efficient access to medical appointments, states can save money by helping the aforementioned individuals avoid costly ambulance trips or emergency room visits. Numerous studies prove increasing transportation access to medical services results in such significant savings that it justifies increased NEMT spending. Transportation is inexpensive compared to the high and rapidly growing cost of healthcare, making it more cost-effective to transport a recipient to preventative care rather than waiting for a serious health condition to arise. (What Is NEMT, https://www.mtm-inc.net/transportation-management/what-is-nemt )
Simply put, non-emergency transportation services can truly be vital to getting a recipient to and from medical care for non-emergency appointments. But these services cost money. As we age, we become more prone to sickness and injury. And with the cost of healthcare rising constantly, any one of us could find ourselves in a situation where we need these services desperately, and the finances to cover the costs out-of-pocket won’t be there. Whether one is young or old does not make a difference. One cannot predict the need for medical intervention at any time. Support vital NEMT services so they are there when you need them.