Getting around town becomes more difficult as you age. Mobility challenges, vision impairments, and health constraints can make it more difficult to get to doctor appointments and run errands. 

Understanding how Medicare covers transportation services can help you get where you need to go, especially when your health is at stake. Read on to learn about how and when Medicare covers transportation services and other ways you can save money on transportation.

Key takeaways:

  • Original Medicare covers transportation services if they’re medically necessary to get to an emergency facility. 

  • Medicare Advantage plans may offer extra transportation benefits, especially if you have a Dual Special Needs Plan (D-SNP).

  • There are community alternatives for seniors seeking accessible transportation.

Medicare coverage for transportation services

What Medicare covers for transportation services can vary with what plan you have. Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans pay for transportation under different situations.

Original Medicare coverage of transportation services

Original Medicare generally covers emergency transportation services. Depending on your health status and medical needs, you may also be eligible for non-emergency transportation services. 

Medically necessary trips

Medicare Part B covers any transportation that is medically necessary and under situations where riding in any other vehicle would endanger your health. This means that Part B will cover emergency ambulance transportation to the nearest hospital or necessary health facility.

With a medically necessary transportation service, you’ll be responsible for 20% of the Medicare-approved amount after you meet the Part B deductible. If you have a Medicare Supplement plan, your out-of-pocket costs will be lower.

Non-emergency ambulance transportation

There are certain situations where Original Medicare will cover medically necessary, non-emergency transportation services though you’ll have to get a written order from your doctor. For example, people with End-Stage Renal Disease may be  eligible for limited, non-emergency transportation to a kidney dialysis facility. Keep in mind that if you need this type of transportation, you may need to get prior authorization to get coverage.

Routine doctor visits

Unfortunately, Original Medicare does not extend coverage for routine trips from home to the doctor. Exceptions exist if the individual lacks a valid driver's license or if driving is deemed unsafe due to a medical condition. In these cases, the patient is responsible for 20% of transportation costs.

Medicare Advantage coverage for transportation services

Medicare Advantage plans provide the same coverage for transportation services as Original Medicare. Some plans also offer additional transportation benefits to help you get to places fitness centers, grocery stores, and doctor’s offices. 

If you have a Dual Special Needs Plan (D-SNP), your plan may include flex card benefits, which can often be used for transportation. Because Medicare Advantage plans vary widely, it’s very important to check your summary of benefits or call your insurance provider to learn what transportation benefits you’re entitled to. 

As of 2024, 36% of Medicare Advantage policies provide transportation as a benefit for individual plans and 88% of policies include transportation for Special Needs Plans.

Exploring non-Medicare transportation options

If Medicare doesn’t cover the transportation services you need, there are other options! We recommend looking into Senior Transportation Programs, community programs, rideshare platforms, and discounted community public transportation. 

Senior Transportation Programs and other community ride resources

Senior Transportation Programs provide accessible and reliable transportation options for seniors who have challenges with mobility or public transportation. Your community could also offer other community ride resources for seniors like volunteer-ride programs. Contact your local Department of Transportation, Human Services Department, or local Area Agencies of Aging office to get help finding these services. 

Support from friends and family

Your friends and family can be a great support network, especially when you need help getting around. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s normal to not want to feel like a burden, but just remember that you’d help them out if they needed you! 

Rideshare platforms like Lyft and Uber

Some Medicare Advantage plans now cover a limited number of Uber and Lyft rides for transportation to and from doctor's appointments and other health-related facilities. Coverage depends on what plan you have. Check with your provider to see if your Medicare Advantage plan covers rideshare transportation services for non-emergency healthcare needs.

Eliminate transportation concerns with modern services

Some transportation needs are unavoidable. In many cases, however, you may be able to take advantage of new technologies and services to get your needs taken care while staying home.


Some doctor appointments require you to be there in person, but many can be taken care of virtually, from the comfort of your own home. If getting to the doctor is difficult, ask your provider about telehealth options. Many telehealth services are covered by Medicare, but be sure you check your coverage details before using these services to avoid surprise bills! Your healthcare provider can often make the right calls to make sure your telehealth appointments are covered and you get any necessary prior authorizations.

Grocery and meal delivery

Grocery and meal delivery services are a great option for people who don’t feel up to going to the store. Whether it’s a little too icy, you’re feeling under the weather, or have a health condition that makes grocery shopping challenging, using food delivery services can ease your burden! Some Medicare Advantage plans provide coverage for these services, so if this is something you need, mention it to your Medicare advisor during the Open Enrollment Period to find a plan that best fits your needs.

Finding a Medicare plan that fits your needs

The best Medicare agents ask questions to understand your needs. It’s most important to have a plan that covers your doctors and prescriptions. Once those are covered, your advisor should ask about your other needs too. Chapter’s Medicare Advisors do just this and compare every option to make sure you have the best health insurance for your unique health and financial needs. Call 855-900-2427 or schedule a time to chat today to get help from our licensed advisors.

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