Our first line venture into that area is by offering members capable of supplying a privately owned vehicle (POV) with mileage reimbursement. While less costly to the plan than most forms of commercial transport this solution has the added benefit of giving the member greater degree freedom and can often make the difference in whether the member can afford to operate the vehicle or not. In some extreme cases, like when the members residence is very remote, it's been determined that even assisting with privately owned vehicle maintenance can reduce the total cost of transport. For example, if a member lived 50 miles away from their doctor (not uncommon in rural areas), most commercial transporters would insist on 'dead head' miles to cover the miles going to and returning from the residence. That makes a total of 200 taxi miles as opposed to only 100 POV miles. When you further consider that Taxi mileage is currently 7 times the POV mileage rate, it becomes easy to justify maintenance assistance for the member that could not drive their vehicle without it. Once again this solution, while more economical to the health plan, also enhances the members quality of life by giving them the freedom provided by a vehicle
that they could not have afforded otherwise. Note that without any burden to the health plan, a member can plan other tasks like shopping around a doctor appointment, and reduce the transportation burden of that task on themselves (especially the rural members).
Another creative leap was to negotiate with metro transit authorities (MTA) for passes for members whose medical appointments are within the range of the MTA. The cost of the pass is typically less that a few taxi rides to the doctors office. The member in turn has the freedom to use the MTA at will, thus gaining greater mobility and freedom.