What requirements need to be met to qualify for Medicare transportation?


Quick Answer

Medicare Part B covers ambulance transportation if patients are in the midst of a medical emergency and cannot be moved safely in other vehicles, reports Medicare.gov. If ambulances cannot reach locations due to impediments such as heavy traffic or long distances, Medicare may cover transportation by helicopter or airplane. If other means of transportation may endanger a patient's health and the patient has a doctor's written authorization, Medicare may provide non-emergency ambulance transportation to a diagnostic or treatment facility.

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Full Answer

Medical emergencies for which Medicare covers emergency transportation to a skilled nursing facility or hospital include heavy bleeding, unconsciousness, shock or the need for medical attention while the patient is being transported, explains Medicare.gov. Medicare only covers transportation to the closest medical facility where the patient can receive appropriate care. If the patient wants to go to a specific facility farther away, the patient must cover the difference in the cost.

For non-emergency ambulance transportation, the written authorization must specify that only an ambulance can safely move the patient, points out Medicare.gov. If the need for the service is repetitive, the doctor must send the authorization directly to the ambulance supplier. The date on the authorization must be 60 days or less before the needed service. For all Medicare-approved ambulance costs, the patient pays the Part B deductible and a copayment of 20 percent of the total charge.

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