I need to have a test w anesthesia so I can't drive myself. Will Medicare pay for transport?

2 answers | Last updated: Sep 16, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

I need a test which requires anesthesia so I cannot drive afterwards. It is quite a distance from my home, no public transportation available. I am single, no family or friends who can drive me. Will medicare pay for my transportation to and from the hospital? This is a test I must have in preparation for surgery.

Expert Answers

Medicare Part B can pay for an ambulance to take you from the hospital back home following your medical procedure, but probably will not cover your transportation to the hospital.

Medicare Part B can cover 80% of the cost of an ambulance to take you from the hospital back home following your procedure if the anesthesia makes it medically not advisable for you to travel any other way. In order for Medicare Part B to cover the ambulance following your test, the doctor who prescribes the test must also give you a prescription for the ambulance, as well as providing Medicare with information showing that the test will make it medically unadvisable for you to travel home any way other than by ambulance following the test. Ask your doctor's office to provide that prescription for an ambulance. The doctor's office or the hospital can also help arrange for the ambulance itself. To make sure that you do not get stuck with an ambulance bill because the doctor's office did not provide Medicare with sufficient information, you can ask your doctor's office to get Medicare approval for the ambulance in advance of your hospital test.

Unfortunately, getting to the hospital is another story, and Medicare probably will not cover the cost of an ambulance. That's because your need for transport to the hospital is not the result of your medical condition but rather simply your lack of a way to get there, and does not require an ambulance. To get a ride to the hospital, you might try contacting a senior center in your area, or use the online eldercare locator[eldercare.gov], to find out about free transport for seniors.

Community Answers

Mizkary answered...

Its a shame that the gov. will pay for a more expensive method of transport when all I need is a car or medicar ride home. typical gov. waste.....if I was just a little poorer, I'd qualify for medici and get a free ride not only to the hospital but to the grocery store! Thanks for the tip re senior center/eldercare locator.

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