Planes & Cars and Things That Go…Free Medical Travel Options

Healthcare treatments can be crucial for a person’s recovery. However, sometimes patients require services from medical facilities outside their immediate area for the best quality care, and they don’t have personal transportation options. 

The added costs of traveling to far-away facilities can create a financial burden many can’t afford. Fortunately, some options offer free non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT), making it possible for those unable to incur those expenses to receive treatment. LifeLine Pilots is proud to be part of the network.

Depending on your location and the nature of your condition, you can avail yourself of multiple options for free transportation to and from medical care. For example, Medicaid, some Medicare Advantage plans, and private insurance providers may cover NEMT. Check with your provider.

Of course, as with any program, eligibility requirements, specific destinations, and allowable modes of transport vary from state to state. Special taxis and wheelchair vans dispatched by community organizations often provide the service, but a growing number of state Medicaid programs and insurers are covering Lyft and Uber rides to treatment destinations. For local transportation options, dialing 211 on your phone is a great way to find your local services.

Coordinating Organizations

Saferide is an example of a company that’s developed an efficient network of transport providers, including NEMT, rideshare, public transportation, taxis, and mileage reimbursement, to ensure a full spectrum of healthcare transportation services.

In addition, the American Cancer Society coordinates Road to Recovery, transportation for cancer patients who don’t have a ride or can’t drive themselves in various communities around the US.

Air Transportation

Thanks to volunteer pilots’ generosity, several volunteer pilot organizations, like LifeLine Pilots, focus on helping patients and families get the care they need. In addition, thousands of volunteer pilots donate their expertise, their planes, and fuel to provide free air transportation to medical facilities for financially distressed citizens or those otherwise unable to travel on public transport. 

LifeLine Pilots provides people in the midwest with non-emergency transportation services. Volunteer pilots donate their time, expertise, and planes to serve people who need medical travel and humanitarian assistance. 

For example, LifeLine Pilots flies people for specialist medical care, second opinions, cancer treatment, clinical trials and many other medical-related reasons. Humanitarian flights are often to be with dying or terminally ill loved ones, transportation for parents to visit sick children receiving treatment far from home, and even support for refugee organizations to offer relocation services or for survivors of domestic abuse or human trafficking. 

Angel Flight West, Angel Flight East, Angel Flight Soars, and Angel Flight South Central include thousands of volunteer pilots who fly their planes and pay for all associated costs to make these critical journeys. They each cover a region of the United States. LifeLine Pilots works with all of these organizations when passengers need to travel outside of our region of coverage.

Global Medical Relief helps children who have no or little local medical resources in the US and 40 other countries worldwide with vital medical care and ongoing treatment. Such services allow patients to eventually heal and return home to grow up and become thriving members of their cities, towns, communities, and countries.

Mercy Medical Angels (MMA), a non-profit organization with 25 years of medical air transportation experience, manages programs and services available to patients with both common and rare diseases. All are free services to patients (in the US only). They offer ground transportation support with ground with gas cards, bus or train tickets or in the air with tickets for commercial airlines.

Miracle Flights provides free commercial air travel to individuals needing specialized medical care not available in their local communities. Flights are coordinated through major airlines to medical facilities throughout the United States at no cost to families and as often as necessary — whether it’s a one-time flight to obtain a second opinion or several flights for ongoing medical care. 

Miracle Flights is not disease-specific, nor is it age-restrictive. The organization will fly anyone with a complex medical need who requires distant medical care. Miracle Flights even fly patients to train and bring home service dogs.

Patient AirLift Services (PALS)  arranges free air transportation for individuals requiring medical diagnosis, treatment, or follow-up, for compassionate assistance, for military personnel/family (through the PALS for Patriots Program), or for humanitarian purposes through the PALS Sky Hope Disaster Relief Program (in the US only).

You Can Make It Happen

LifeLine Pilots receives no government funding. Instead, volunteer pilots support LifeLine Pilots by giving millions in donated flight time and all costs association with the flight ($1.6 million last year alone!). 

LifeLine Pilots can make these flights available to people in need through the generosity of individuals, businesses, and foundations. There are so many ways you can help. Your cash or crypto contribution, donations from shopping at AmazonSmile, or even your time as a volunteer can ensure that a person gets the healthcare they need.