After submitting its IPO paperwork late last year, Lyft Inc. is set to list its shares on Nasdaq toward the end of next month. As it prepares to go public, the ride-hailing company continues to grow the health care arm of its business, which tackles social determinants of health and helps seniors age in place by often partnering with home care providers.
Earlier in February, Lyft announced it was expanding its partnerships with Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) and Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) to further capitalize on the expanded supplemental benefits offered under the Medicare Advantage (MA) program, which include transportation services.
“We’ve seen the positive impact transportation can have, not just on costs and operational efficiencies, but also on an individual’s overall health,” Megan Callahan, vice president of health care at Lyft, told Home Health Care News in an email. “That’s why we were excited to hear that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced new flexibility for MA plans to innovate with services that promote member health and wellness.”
In expanding its partnerships with high profile payers, San Francisco-based Lyft will be able to provide transportation to select BCBS and Humana members enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, in turn helping seniors get to and from medical appointments.
Currently, roughly 3.6 million people — many of whom are older adults — miss medical appoints every year. Beyond taking seniors to doctor’s appointments, Lyft will also provide some members transportation to places like pharmacies and fitness centers to meet a broader range of health needs.
These partnerships are just the beginning, Callahan said, which could suggest there’s room for Lyft to further build upon its relationships with home care providers throughout the country. Some of its current provider partners include Comfort Keepers and 24Hr HomeCare.
“We look forward to partnering with MA plans around the country to leverage the flexibility provided by CMS to test and make these new models a reality for patients, as we know that scaling investments and partnerships for innovative transportation models will improve health outcomes, decrease costs for patients, payers, and the government, and combat social isolation,” Callahan said.
Showing its commitment to its health arm, Lyft brought on Callahan last year as the company’s first-ever vice president of health care. Previously, Callahan was a top executive at McKesson’s Change Healthcare, a health care IT company.
Additionally, Lyft’s numbers are a testament to its goals: The number of health care rides Lyft provided in the third quarter of 2018 was triple the same period the year before and now makes up a “sizable chunk” of the ride-hailing company’s business, Lyft’s Chief Business Officer David Baga told CNBC in March. He also recently touted the company’s progress in the space on Bloomberg Technology.
Humana — which currently contracts with LogistiCare, the nation’s largest non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) provider, on select MA plans — could not provide data on how many seniors the expanded partnership would serve.
“We hope to incorporate Lyft into our transportation mix sometime in the next several months,” a Humana spokesperson told HHCN in a statement. “This is the first time LogistiCare will offer transportation via Lyft to Humana members.”
BCBS did not provide HHCN comment for this story.
Meanwhile, Lyft’s expanded partnerships with Blue Cross and Humana are just a piece of the pie when it comes to helping seniors age in place.
Last year, HHCN reported that the company was working with GreatCall and taking its aging in place transportation program nationwide. Instead of using an app to hail a ride, seniors can call an operator and tell them where they’d like to go.
Similarly, Lyft has also recently updated its concierge product, which allows providers and living facilities to request rides for seniors.
“We specifically designed our new product updates with seniors in mind, including introducing automated calls to landlines for riders that need it, so they can be made aware of their ride details,” Callahan said.