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Will Medicaid cover NEMT by air? - BillPro

When you think of non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT), your mind probably associates the service with wheelchair vans and ambulettes. While these are some of the most commonly used NEMT vehicles, they aren’t the only ones. That’s right, NEMT doesn’t just take place on the road. Some people need to travel long distances for their medical appointments. In many scenarios, transportation by air makes the most sense to safely get patients to and from their destinations. 

When are non-emergency medical flights necessary?

Non-emergency medical transportation by air is a good option for those who need to travel a far distance for medical care and who are not in immediate danger. Some common reasons for NEMT air travel include:

  • Traveling to see medical specialists who aren’t found in your immediate area
  • Moving elderly parents or relatives to another state or country
  • Returning home after a sudden illness or injury while traveling
  • Travel for people with chronic medical conditions
  • Elderly people traveling to and from family member’s homes for visits
  • Many more non-emergency travel needs

It’s important to think of the above as a small list of reasons someone might need a non-emergency medical flight. Everyone’s situations are unique. That’s why it’s important for patients to consult their doctors to decide what makes the most sense for their own needs. 

How do NEMT flights differ from commercial ones?

If you or someone you know is considering non-emergency medical transport by air, there’s probably a good reason. In many cases, NEMT flights take place on regular, commercial airplanes. The big difference? Transport nurses. These men and women ride along with patients who, due to chronic illness or injury, can’t ride alone. They provide care during the duration of the flight, making sure the patient gets the medications they need. Transport nurses work both nationally and internationally and are also experienced in emergency scenarios. This background gives them the knowledge they need to care for patients on long-distance flights. While these particular flights fall into the “non emergency” category, it’s always important to be prepared. Non-emergency medical transportation via commercial flights is much more cost efficient than taking an air ambulance. Since these air ambulances are most often used in emergency scenarios, a single trip can range from $12,000 – $25,000 per flight. Air ambulances should be a “worst-case scenario” choice for those seeking air transport. While air ambulances can be a huge expense, NEMT flights may cost little to nothing at all, depending. Brokers use advanced NYS Medicaid billing software to submit customers’ claims to make the whole billing process a smooth one. 

Does Medicaid pay for NEMT flights?

Yes, Medicaid pays for NEMT flights most of the time. When a person wants to book an NEMT trip in New York State, they have to contact a broker at either MAS or LogistiCare. When a person contacts a broker, the broker first ensures that the person requesting the ride is covered under Medicaid. After confirming coverage, the broker will recommend the most cost efficient mode of transportation, taking into consideration all medical history and any physical disabilities that would require special accommodations. This is where things can become a little complex. Medicaid will cover transportation to any non emergency Medicaid-covered service. However, if they don’t find that flying is the most efficient mode of transportation for the scenario, you may find yourself paying out of pocket. Medicaid brokers use Medicaid billing software to ensure quick, accurate billing for all parties involved. It’s safe to assume that any appointment with a specialist across the country could be covered, but other NEMT flight scenarios, like elderly traveling to and from family’s homes, could become a tougher sell with the state.

In the end, it’s important to assess each situation as a unique one, because it is. No two people will have the exact same needs, and talking with your doctor or physician is a great way to talk about the best scenario. It’s also important to keep in mind that pre-approval is needed for NEMT flights, so you’ll know before you end up on a plane whether or not the state will cover the cost. Medicaid transportation billing software is used regularly to process patient’s claims and get everything paid for properly. While there’s no “one size fits all” answer here, it’s worth noting that you probably wouldn’t consider flying for a medical reason unless it was completely necessary. 

Find the travel method that’s best for you

Non-emergency medical transportation helps many elderly and low-income citizens get to and from medical appointments every day. It’s a valuable resource that aids in sustaining a robust healthcare system, ensuring patients don’t miss important appointments that end up costing everyone big money. It’s a win-win service: American citizens get the treatment and care they need, and the healthcare industry is able to continue providing everyday and life saving services. With the help of efficient Medicaid insurance billing software, patients get their appointments paid for and insurance companies are reimbursed quickly and accurately. The way patients travel to and from their appointments is all dependent on their personal needs. While some may have a short trip and only need a van to transport them, others may have no choice but to fly. The best thing to do is talk with both your doctor and insurance provider. Once you figure out what travel method is necessary for your situation, you’ll be ready to go.
If you’re looking to better your NEMT business with reliable billing software, reach out to us today for more information.

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