Medicare Transportation Benefits

HEHS-94-184R: Published: Jul 8, 1994. Publicly Released: Jul 8, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined alternatives to Medicare coverage of the use of ambulances in nonemergency situations. GAO noted that: (1) nonemergency vehicles are substantially less costly than ambulances; (2) Medicare coverage of nonemergency vehicles could increase program costs because more Medicare beneficiaries would be eligible for transportation benefits; (3) restricting coverage to those who currently receive transportation benefits, but could use nonemergency vehicles, would be very difficult to enforce; (4) adding coverage of nonemergency transportation would decrease unauthorized ambulance use, but would not preclude fraud by transportation suppliers; and (5) some other federal health insurance programs cover other forms of transportation, but not for cost reduction reasons.

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