My father is in a nursing home. He needs to go to a specialized clinic
each week for treatment of a skin condition. However, he requires much
medical attention, so I cant drive him to the clinic myself. I also
cant afford to pay an ambulance or van to take him. Can Medicare
or Medi-Cal cover the cost of medical transportation?
Stumped in Stockton
If your father has Medicare Part B, it might pay for the cost. In general,
Part B will pay for emergency ambulance services. Part B will also pay
for nonemergency ambulance services if a physician orders them as medically
Three criteria must be met in order for transportation to be medically
necessary. The beneficiary must be: (1) unable to get up from bed without
assistance; (2) unable to ambulate; and (3) unable to sit in a chair or
Note that Medicare only pays for ambulance services; it does not pay
for other forms of medical transportation, such as wheelchair vans or
If your father has Medi-Cal, it might pay for the cost. Medi-Cal covers
ambulance, litter van, and wheelchair van medical transportation if transportation
by ordinary means is medically contraindicated, and if transportation
is required in order to obtain needed medical care. In other words, a
physician needs to prescribe or order the transportation as necessary.
Under Medi-Cal, emergency medical transportation does not require prior
authorization from Medi-Cal. However, nonemergency medical transportation
requires prior authorization; the transportation provider must submit
a treatment authorization request (TAR) to Medi-Cal for approval.
Remember that for Medi-Cal coverage, the transportation provider must
be certified to accept Medi-Cal.
For assistance with the relevant regulations, contact CANHR at 1-800-474-1116.