Lyft now lets healthcare providers cover rides for patients

Ride-hailing services took a beating during the pandemic as stay-in-place restrictions kept business muted. Yet, Lyft is taking some of the lessons learned from the past year to build on its ties with the healthcare sector. Starting today, the company is introducing a feature that lets patients access medical rides directly through the Lyft app. The “Lyft Pass for Healthcare” service is designed to streamline the process of arranging a trip to the doctors via a health plan or social services organization, such as Medicaid and Medicare. 

Lyft says patients currently have to trawl through an arduous process to book transportation to their appointment, including phoning a call center up to 72 hours in advance to arrange a ride. By inserting its app into the journey, Lyft is hoping to be the go-to service for recurring trips to check-ups, vaccinations and even prescription pick-ups. 

The new feature essentially lets a healthcare provider share a ride pass with eligible patients (via phone number, code or direct link) that can be redeemed via the Lyft app. The patient enters the location and time and selects the pass to apply to their journey. Meanwhile, the organization can set a total budget for the transportation program, including the maximum cost for each ride, and monitor usage and spend. Lyft introduced the Pass system last July as a way for companies to cover rides for workers during the pandemic. 

Both Lyft and rival Uber are already offering free or discounted rides for vaccinations as part of their lobbying efforts with the Biden administration to secure jabs for their drivers. Lyft also previously partnered with medical software provider Epic to allow clinicians to schedule a ride for their patients from their health record.