Medicaid recipients get free rides to and from medical appointments

Benzie Bus

Hundreds of northern Michigan Medicaid recipients will soon be able to get free rides to and from their medical appointments.

Benzie Bus is teaming up with Bay Area Transportation Authority (BATA) and Manistee Dial-a-ride, which will launch the initiative Monday, taking riders to their non-emergency visits six days a week.

Medicaid will reimburse Benzie Bus $15 for every round trip ride.

The executive director at Benzie Bus says this will cost nearly half of what it would take for the Department of Health and Human Services to transport them.

The Benzie Transportation Authority says there are more Medicaid eligible patients in northern Michigan under the Affordable Care Act.

"Doctors' offices will tell you that they are inefficient because patient don't make it their appointments and the number one reason make it to their appointments is reliable transportation," said Executive Director of Benzie Bus, Bill Kennis. "So by public transportation stepping up and moving the whole system becomes more efficient."

Kennis says Benzie Bus is the first in Michigan to offer Medicaid recipients free transportation across county lines.

Rides need to be booked 48 hours in advance by called the Benzie Bus Mobility Manager, Nancy Hunt, at (231) 227-1030.

Rides to Manistee County will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and rides to Grand Traverse County will be on Wednesdays and Fridays.

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