MEDI-CAL TRANSPORTATION SERVICES
As a Blue Shield Promise member, you can get a ride to and from your doctor’s appointments at no cost. We will work with you and your doctor to find the right ride for you.
Transportation services are offered at no cost
Non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT)
You can use non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) when you can’t get to your doctor’s appointments.
Before getting NEMT, you need to request the service through your doctor. Your doctor must complete a form and send it to Blue Shield Promise.
NEMT includes the following types of transportation:
- Litter (gurney) van
- Wheelchair van
- Air transport
NEMT is not a car, bus, or taxi.
Limits of NEMT
Blue Shield Promise covers NEMT rides to medically necessary services. All rides to get prescribed drugs are also covered. A provider must prescribe NEMT rides for you. If the appointment type is covered by Medi-Cal but not through Blue Shield Promise, we will do our best to get you a ride.
Non-medical transportation (NMT)
You can use non-medical transportation (NMT) when you are traveling to and from a doctor’s appointment. You can also use NMT when picking up prescriptions and medical supplies.
Blue Shield Promise lets you use different ways of getting to your medical appointment for covered services. To schedule your ride, contact Blue Shield Promise Transportation Services. You can use public rides like a taxi or bus by calling Blue Shield Promise Customer Care and asking for prepayment assistance.
You can also get a private car ride from a family member or friend. For private rides, we’ll reimburse the driver based on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) standard medical mileage rate. To get reimbursed, you must tell Blue Shield Promise by phone, email, or in person that you tried and weren’t able to get a ride from Blue Shield Promise Transportation Services. The driver must also provide a valid:
- Driver’s license
- Car registration
- Car insurance
Limits of NMT
Blue Shield Promise covers NMT rides to medically necessary services. All rides to get prescribed drugs are also covered. If the appointment type is covered by Medi-Cal but not through Blue Shield Promise, we will help you get a ride. You do not need a provider to prescribe NMT rides for you.
Scheduling your ride
Call at least one business day prior to your appointment.
For urgent appointments, please call as soon as possible.
Please have your Member ID card ready when you call.
Related Travel Expenses for transportation services
Blue Shield Promise will pay for meals, lodging, and other necessary expenses for transportation services. These are called Related Travel Expenses. For these expenses to be covered, the services you receive must be:
- Medically necessary
- Approved by Blue Shield Promise
- Located more than 30 miles from your home or doctor’s office
The plan also pays for the travel costs of an aide and a Major Organ Transplant (MOT) donor. The aide or MOT donor do not have to be a Blue Shield Promise member.
Before you travel, get your expenses reviewed by Blue Shield Promise. They must be reasonable and necessary.
If you’re unable to prepay for travel expenses, you must inform Blue Shield Promise. If Related Travel Expenses are organized by Blue Shield Promise, there are no costs for you. Call Customer Service to get started.
Covered Related Travel Expenses
Travel expenses can include:
- Rides, parking, and tolls
- Hotel stays and meals (covered at the IRS daily rates)
- Sales taxes (on eligible expenses)
If an aide is not a family member or friend, they can be paid for their time. To be paid, they must:
- Be medically necessary
- Be 18 years or older
- Have a social security number or an individual tax ID number
- Complete a W-9 form
Aides will be paid by check. They will be paid at the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) hourly rates at a maximum of 8 hours per day. They will receive a 1099 form for the year they were paid as required by law.
There are some items that don’t qualify for Related Travel Expenses. These include:
- Tobacco, alcohol, and non-prescribed drugs
- Hotel extras such as phone charges and entertainment
- Car services, rentals, insurance, damages, and fines
- Travel to non-medical locations such as restaurants
- Third party (employer or non-profit) covered travel expenses
- Expenses that exceed the IRS daily rates
- Personal expenses
- Expenses for services before August 16, 2022
You also have the option to pay for expenses. Reimbursements will be made when:
- Medical services are completed
- Claims forms, attestations, and supporting records are submitted within 180 days of service
Records can include itemized receipts. Reimbursements are available where allowed by law.
Expenses are covered up to the IRS’ day rates.
All Related Travel Expense rules, eligibility, and exclusions apply.
Tax liability and reporting
The Related Travel Expenses program is made to support you when you're required to travel for care. This is a part of your health plan.
If Related Travel Expenses are above the IRS limits, it may be a tax reportable income.
Blue Shield Promise is not responsible for any income taxes that occur through the program.
Blue Shield Promise cannot provide tax or legal advice. You should consult a tax or legal advisor.
Call Customer Service for more information on travel guidelines.
Los Angeles: 1-800-605-2556 (TTY: 711), 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday
San Diego: 1-855-699-5557 (TTY: 711), 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday
Page last updated: 8/7/2023