Why are Uber and Lyft getting into healthcare transportation? It turns out that travel, even locally, is one of the biggest barriers to accessing medical care. It is estimated that up to $150B is lost annually due to missed or canceled appointments¹. It’s been long understood that social detriments affect health outcomes, but what of these lessons can be applied to a self-funded health plan?
If it’s worth covering travel to get someone to show up for a local preventative benefit, it is worth ensuring patients get the best services possible when it comes to major surgery. Even fully funded health plans like Aetna are now covering travel costs for valve replacement at the Cleveland Clinic and other specialties. Large employers like Walmart and Boeing have built travel coverage into their plans for high-cost orthopedic care like spine surgery and joint replacement to ease access to Centers of Excellence (COE).
Orthopedic medical events are episodic, occurring in approximately 3% of plan members within a calendar year². Many employers are willing to assist in all or some of the travel expenses for a plan member to help eliminate distance as a barrier to seeking a Regenexx treatment. Since Regenexx consultations can be conducted via telemedicine, this essentially means travel is only covered when we know treatment is necessary and the patient is a candidate.