The availability of reliable transportation is critical to health outcomes, particularly for low-income Americans with chronic health conditions. When lack of transportation impedes medical treatment, chronic conditions can be exacerbated and potentially lead to increased use of emergency medical services. Medicaid’s non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) benefit seeks to fill in transportation gaps and guarantee timely and medically appropriate transportation. NEMT benefits are available for individuals who lack reliable or affordable access to transportation, or who need accommodations for physical or mental disabilities.

This brief, a product of the Complex Care Innovation Lab made possible by Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit, outlines the current state of Medicaid NEMT services, its challenges, and opportunities for improvement. It explores alternative transportation models piloted by states and health plans across the country, including the use of transportation network companies, such as Uber and Lyft, to augment NEMT services.