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Some people in New York state know about Medicaid and certain benefits it affords them. Others don’t know much about it at all. You should understand what Medicaid offers you, though, since you might take advantage of it if you’re not wealthy.

In this article, we’ll talk about Medicaid and transportation. That’s one program aspect that doesn’t get nearly as much attention as it should.

What Exactly is Medicaid?

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Medicaid is a program that both state governments and the federal government endorse and support. If you live limited income, it can help you with certain medical costs and expenditures.

You can use Medicaid to get medications in some instances. You can use it to see doctors and health specialists. You can use it for mental health support or to obtain emergency care.

How Does Transportation Fit In?

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The company FreedomCare mentions that “Medicaid readily covers the cost of emergency medical transport” for some eligible individuals. Some people who use Medicaid know about that, but others do not.

If you injure yourself and need a ride to the emergency room, that can cost you a lot of money if you don’t have insurance or Medicaid. Even if you do have insurance, that single ambulance ride can cost you quite a bit in some instances.

However, you might need a ride to a medical facility for non-emergency treatment. You may not have a car, and perhaps you’re not mobile or well enough to take a bus or some other public transportation form. You also might not have any public transportation where you live.

Can Medicaid Cover Non-Emergency Medical Transportation?

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It’s tough sometimes finding transportation to clinics or a doctor’s office if you have Medicaid. Say that you have some basic services because you signed yourself up for the program. You still might not get that ride you need unless you get prior approval for your caseworker.

You may also need permission from a rideshare company or some other transportation company. Otherwise, they will demand that you pay for the ride.

Medical Answering Services or LogistiCare

Getting rides to medical facilities using the Medicaid program works differently in various states. We’ll stick with New York state as an example in this article.

Two programs work with Medicaid to provide you with rides to the clinic, doctor’s office, or any other medical facility you must visit. Medical Answering Services and LogistiCare are their names.

They work closely with medical practitioners. If you want to get to an appointment and you can’t get there on your own, you’ll need to make sure you’re signed up for the Medicaid program and that you can get one of these services to come pick you up.

You might potentially take public transportation and get one of these companies to pay for it, though. They won’t just send an ambulance to get you. They can also potentially fund a ride in a taxi, rideshare vehicle, commercial bus, public bus, etc.

How to Figure Out What Vehicle Can Come Get You

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If you use Medical Answering Services (MAS) or LogistiCare to pay for your trip to and from a medical facility through the Medicaid program, they won’t just automatically assign you a transportation method. They need to take several factors into account.

They will talk to you about the transportation mode you usually use. If you’re well enough to take a public bus, for instance, and you have buses nearby to utilize, they might just reimburse you for taking the bus to and from the appointment.

You will have to talk to them about your mobility and needs. They must also know how close you are to the medical facility.

They will look at all of those factors when determining how to get you to the appointment. The sooner you start telling them the information they need, the sooner they can help you.

What to Know if You Have a Disability

If you deal with a disability that makes it difficult or impossible to get to medical facilities on a bus or train, you can tell either MAS or LogistiCare about that. They will work with the Medicaid program to figure out another way to get you to your appointments.

If that means you take an Uber, they might fund that. If you need some other vehicle, like a wheelchair-accessible one, they can make that happen.

They will typically try to get you the most cost-effective vehicle or transportation method possible. That should not surprise you. The Medicaid program does not have unlimited funds, and they need to try and conserve financial resources whenever possible.

Your Medical Practitioner Must Sign Off on It

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You should also know that your medical practitioner must approve the transportation method either MAS or LogistiCare suggests to get you to and from the appointment. If your doctor says you can use a bus or train based on your mobility and overall condition, expect to take that. If your medical practitioner says you need something like a private ambulance, that’s possible too.

The point is that your medical practitioner, the Medicaid program, and either MAS or LogistiCare all work together in New York state to help you get the medical care you need. Once you understand this, you can start to work with all of them to get to your appointments.

If you live in New York state and you’re using the Medicaid program, you need to get approval from either LogistiCare or MAS before you can get the money for transportation to and from an appointment. You can’t try to bypass that system, or you will need to pay for your transportation out of your own pocket.

That defeats Medicaid’s purpose since it exists to help you with medical expenses. It’s not that difficult to find out about either MAS or LogistiCare and sign up with them, though. They can help you in this critical area and get you the medical help you need.