Access to reliable transportation can present a major barrier among individuals dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid seeking to get a COVID-19 vaccination.
Health plans can support their members in receiving the COVID-19 vaccination by providing transportation to and from vaccination sites. Resources for Integrated Care recently spoke with two health plans in Ohio that are expanding transportation benefits to facilitate COVID-19 vaccination access and uptake.
- Buckeye Health Plan’s top priority is to ensure members have access to quality healthcare during the COVID-19 public health emergency. A key part of this is coordinating transportation with members to travel to and from vaccination appointments. Buckeye team members, such as Care Coordinators and frontline Call Center Associates, help members schedule their first and/or second vaccine appointment telephonically or via an online appointment scheduler. They then conduct a warm handoff by offering to connect the member with transportation services for the appointment. This warm handoff serves to ensure Buckeye team members can immediately address any transportation barriers that would prevent members from getting vaccinated.
- CareSource has also expanded transportation benefits. CareSource leveraged the flexibilities offered during the public health emergency to expand the Medicaid transportation benefit. CareSource members can travel to and from their vaccination appointment via the mode of transportation that meets their unique needs including, but not limited to, non-emergency ambulance, taxi, or wheelchair van. CareSource worked with transportation providers to recommend members preschedule their return trip in order to reduce their wait times after receiving their vaccination. Members can be accompanied by a family member or caregiver during the trip. Allowing a family member or caregiver to accompany the member can be helpful for those who may need mobility or other support.
Additionally, Lyft, in partnership with Anthem, JPMorgan Chase, and United Way, has announced the launch of a nationwide universal vaccine access campaign to support access to COVID-19 vaccination. The goal of the campaign is to provide 60 million rides to and from vaccination sites. This partnership will focus on providing transportation to individuals who are uninsured, low-income, or from communities at high risk of COVID-19. Corporations and non-profit organizations interested in joining the universal vaccine access effort can email email@example.com. You can read more about this campaign here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201222005209/en/
We would like to thank the staff from CareSource and Buckeye Health Plan in Ohio that contributed to this post.