BCBS teams up with Lyft to help patients access care

Published May 11, 2017

There’s a familiar recipe for a healthy life. Eat healthy food. Exercise regularly. Don’t smoke. Mix it all together with a dash of regular doctor visits and voila! But there’s a conspicuous problem with this simple formula: many people lack access to the key ingredients. And some can’t even get to the kitchen.

When it comes to health, sometimes ZIP code is more important than genetic code. The social, economic and environmental characteristics of communities have a substantial impact on the health of the people who live there. In fact, more than 80 percent of health outcomes are driven by factors like income, education, and access to reliable transportation, nutritious food, places for physical activity and quality healthcare.

These factors are known as social determinants of health and they play a fundamental role in the ability to live a healthy life. To overcome these barriers, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) is launching a nationwide collaboration with Lyft, designed to alleviate transportation challenges for people who struggle to get to doctor’s appointments. This service will be piloted for select Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies over the next few months, at no cost to members.

The collaboration will combine BCBS technology with Lyft’s ride-share services to help reduce the number of missed appointments for non-emergency medical care, like physical exams and diabetes management, primarily in areas where transportation challenges often prevent people from getting the care they need.

Research shows that transportation barriers result in missed or delayed medical appointments for an estimated 3.6 million Americans. While transportation assistance is available for some people on Medicaid, millions of other patients still struggle to access care because they lack reliable transportation options.

“Lyft has been working with individual healthcare providers to get more people to the doctor when they need it, but a partnership this size with BCBS allows us to reach all 50 states and have the data to know exactly which communities need our help the most,” said John Zimmer, co-founder and president of Lyft. “This type of cross-industry partnership is a critical way corporate America can play a role in making our communities stronger and families healthier.”

Additional details, including how members can access these services, will be available in the coming months.