We can’t ever predict when a disease, sickness, or serious medical issue that requires medical travel will strike. In many cases, unfortunately, getting the medical help we need can also be a considerable distance away. That can also create another issue for people who live in remote or rural areas.
How to Get Discounted or Free Medical Transportation
The good news is there is help for those in need and options for people seeking non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) services. Here are some of the most common options and possible avenues for getting help for medical travel needs.
Major Airline Medical Travel Programs
Many major airlines offer both discounted programs and free medical travel vouchers for many NEMT circumstances. Southwest Airlines, for example, has provided more than 7,500 medical travel vouchers since 2007. Alaska Airlines is very generous with free airfares, especially for residents of Alaska. Alaska Airlines’ program is administered by Angel Flight West. Each airline that offers medical travel discounts will have its unique programs and requirements.
However, airlines don’t give out these vouchers offer discount fares directly to individuals. The airlines provide them to social service agencies who qualify individuals and handle the distribution of the vouchers. Examples are medical centers, and nonprofit organizations that specialize in charitable medical travel, described in the sections below. Contact one of these organizations to discuss options for free or discounted air fares.
Many major medical centers offer airline vouchers and other options for those needing NEMT services. To find out if your medical care facility has such a program, contact its patient care or social work department.
Nonprofit and Charitable Organizations
Medical travel isn’t something we want to have to do, but when it can mean cures, healing, and hope, it is something many people look forward to. With the help of non-profit and charitable organizations, discounts and free medical transportation can make those hopes a reality.
For example, non-emergency medical transportation options through organizations such as Angel Flight West (angelflighwest.org) or Mercy Medical (mercymedical.org) offer resources that can provide NEMT solutions. The Air Care Alliance (aircarealliance.org) provides a directory or charitable medical travel organizations across the country, and will allow you to make your flight request in one place using one simple form. Like any voucher or medical travel assistance program, applicants will need to meet certain criteria to be accepted and receive help. Check the website of the appropriate organization to determine their criteria.
Be Proactive and Multi-Source
In most cases, NEMT services will require meeting certain financial thresholds. Fortunately, most of these organizations understand the emotional weight and financial burden that medical issues present. That includes organizations like the aforementioned Angel Flight West.
Getting help with medical travel is possible, but it may demand some effort in finding it. Many major medical centers have airline vouchers donated, which are then passed on to the patient. That also means that staying proactive will help in the event new airline vouchers are donated. Another tip is to avoid putting all your eggs in one basket, so to speak. Contact multiple agencies, airlines, and medical centers you have been to.
There is help available to those looking for discounted or free airline tickets for medical travel, but it may require a little work to find that help. If you want to learn more about assistance with medical travel services, contact Angel Flight West today.