Healthcare is one of the trickiest subjects going. The idea that individuals on low incomes have to go without is astounding even to those of us in better positions. That’s why benefits like the affordable care act and full-time employees health insurance are so valued. You can’t work if you are not healthy.
On average, around 44 million people find health insurance out of their reach. And, that’s not to mention the 38 million with inadequate coverage. But, we could spend all day debating the impact of high-cost health insurance. But what about when you have health insurance, and you can’t afford to use the protection?
Lyft is not only helping people get to their hospital appointments; they are filing an IPO and offering their drivers the ability to buy the stock. According to the Lyft’s filing on Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission drivers who have completed at least 10,000 rides will also get a $1,000 bonus, with the option to use the money to buy Lyft shares at its IPO price. Lyft is allowing its most valued drivers to invest in the company before it becomes publicly traded.
Consider the people who do have decent health insurance, and how the system still lets them down. Consider, for example, that someone’s employer pays for a decent policy. With ease, that individual can book to see a trained Doctor of Nursing Practice DNP nurse practitioner without worry. Until, of course, it comes to getting there. It may be that they’re no longer able to drive, or that they rely on public transport in general. But, they live on a tight budget, and spending the money to attend that appointment isn’t the cards.
As easy as that, you have an insured patient who still can’t get care. That’s a problem, especially among the elderly. Individuals who have paid towards decent policies all their lives still find that the system lets them down. Even worse, canceled or missed appointments due to issues like these cost the healthcare system around $150 million a year. It’s bad news on both sides, and it’s a problem for which an unlikely hero is coming to the forefront.
Love them or hate them, rideshare companies are changing the way we do transport. And, Uber and Lyft alike are working to change the healthcare game by working with insurers like Medicare Advantage and CareMore Health. They’re also forging relationships with individual practices and caregivers in communities. And, it seems to be paying off for patients and companies alike.
In the past, non-emergency medical aid was hard to come by and unreliable. 95-year-old Barbara Emery said that before, “They had me travel in vans, and Lyft sounded a whole lot better.” She’s not alone. Many patients feel more comfortable with this familiar transport system, and the results are plain to see. With Lyft’s healthcare initiative, there was a 39% reduction in transportation costs in the first year and a half of operations, a number which looks set to grow. UberHealth has also saved individual centers around $500,000 already.
These are unlikely healthcare heroes and most the time they go unnoticed. To some extent, the jury is still out on whether this is a good move. While results are positive so far, some have worries about what this will mean for public hospital transportation. One thing’s sure, though; Uber and Lyft alike are both saving lives right now, which is a good thing.