Non-Emergency Transport Valuable in Medicaid, but Issues Abound

  • Date: 02/09/2021

Report authors found that in fiscal year 2018, Medicaid spent $2.6 billion on NEMT, providing 61.5 million "ride days" to 3.2 million beneficiaries -- a small fraction of Medicaid's 74 million enrollees that year. Ride days were defined as days that an NEMT procedure code was used for a particular enrollee. Beneficiaries living in urban areas used an average of 19.8 ride days for the year compared with 15.8 for those in rural areas, although some rides couldn't be classified by ZIP code alone as being urban or rural.

Although participants were pleased with NEMT overall, they also reported specific issues with it, including drivers who arrived too early, too late, or not at all; rude and unprofessional drivers or call center representatives; and no way to hold transportation companies accountable for problems. They also flagged policies that required them to share rides or use public transportation even when doing so was not practical; policies that required rides to be scheduled 3 days in advance; and policies that precluded parents from bringing their children along in rides.

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