The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and Lyft are partnering to help commercially insured patients to get to medical appointments at no extra cost for the patients.
The partnership, announced Wednesday, is the first of its kind for the ride-sharing service, which was recently valued at $7.5 billion. The service will be available for only certain BCBS companies in specific areas that are considered "transportation deserts."
The hope is that using Lyft in these transportation deserts will alleviate one of the main causes of missed or delayed appointments. It's another move in the transition from fee-for-service care models to value-based ones that depend on outcomes; getting patients to show up can sometimes be the first step to improving health outcomes.
"We are committed to addressing issues like transportation that are inextricably linked to health outcomes yet can't be tackled through healthcare resources alone," said Dr. Trent Haywood, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association's chief medical officer, in a statement.
Patients won't need to download the Lyft app to use the program. Instead, rides will be booked through doctors' offices and software will determine which patients are eligible for Lyft transportation. When those patients book appointments, their doctors' offices will see that transportation is covered by insurance and will be able to book them rides.
Although this is Lyft's first commercial insurer agreement, it already has similar partnerships with other members of the healthcare industry. Last December, the company announced it would work with Ascension for patient transportation, and earlier this year, it joined with Logisticare, a transportation manager, to help with rides for Medicare Advantage and Medicaid beneficiaries. Lyft's primary rival, Uber, has also entered the healthcare transportation market.