Medical Travel PDF Print E-mail
Programs and Services
Thursday, 18 March 2010 00:50

Medical Lodging


Traveling can be expensive.  An expense not everyone can afford.
This type of unplanned medical expenditure frequently consumes monthly household budgets, adding financial burden to an already uncertain situation.  Despite the severity of the medical condition, many patients make the difficult decision to ignore doctor referrals and forego out of area treatment. simply because of limited finances.


For those in need of financial assistance, medical center social work departments and nonprofit organizations may offer travel funds that provide some short-term help.  Keep in mind not all patients will qualify for charitable assistance.  However, the inability to qualify does not diminish the need, but suggests that another resource would be more suitable and available.

For those patients with private health insurance, reimbursement of covered lodging and travel expenses may be an option.  Since each policy is different, it is important to speak to the patient’s case manager to determine if this benefit is available. 


The Medicaid recipient and their caretaker traveling to receive medically approved treatment may also be eligible to receive reimbursement for lodging, meals, and transportation as cited under federal regulation 42CFR440.170. Don’t be surprised if your state or local Medicaid office, or social worker is unfamiliar with this benefit.  Many state Medicaid plans incorrectly exclude this regulation, ultimately denying recipients their possible Medicaid benefits. For that reason, the staff of Hospital Traveler is working diligently to make sure that each state provides exceptional transportation benefits to eligible recipients.


Advocate for a proactive out-of-area referral process. Advocate for your patients and their families.
Establish an out-of-area referral protocol by contacting organizations in locations where you most often refer patients. Take the time and effort to create an up to date listing of available funding and travel resources so you can inform your patient. 

While your patient may qualify for reimbursement under private insurance and/or Medicaid programs, there is no guarantee they will be able to utilize the benefit. Patients who have limited financial resources at the beginning of the referral process will have the same limited resource throughout the process. Therefore, a reimbursement program, while a wonderful benefit, is only useful if you can afford the upfront expenditure.

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Does Medicaid pay for medical travel?
The federal government makes reimbursement dollars available to qualified Medicaid patients traveling for approved medical care. These funds specifically cover overnight lodging near the medical center, travel and meal cost up to a specified state per diem rate.

Will Private Insurance cover the cost of medical travel?
For the patient traveler with private health insurance, typical coverage applies when the procedure consists of either solid organ transplant or bone marrow transplant.  However, no two polices are alike.  To be assured that coverage exists, contact the customer service number printed on the back of the medical patient’s insurance card and inquire about lodging benefits.


Can the patient traveler get the funds up front to cover the lodging/travel expenses directly from their Medicaid or Insurance Case Worker?
On occasion, Medicaid offices may provide vouchers to offset the expense of gasoline used for approved travel to and from the medical center.  Upon approval, Medicaid will reimburse for lodging expenses once the patient traveler provides authenticated receipts typically occurring after treatment is complete.  Then and only then, will they reimburse the Medicaid recipient for the costs up to the approved and specified amount. Like Medicaid, private health insurance only offers direct patient reimbursement with no funds provided to ease the up-front expense.


Is financial assistance for medical travel available?
Non-profit organizations, offer lodging for patient travelers, and some offer financial assistance. A medical center social worker can help match your traveler to the appropriate agency based upon their needs. 

Hospital Traveler will work with your social worker to help utilize the travel benefits offered through their Medicaid/Private Insurance coverage. The Hospital Traveler coordinates with your medical center to provide lodging, up to the approved amount provided by their Medicaid or Insurance travel benefit therefore eliminating the need to incur the up-front expense assistance for medical travel.


What determines the travel benefits available for Medicaid lodging?  
A Federal regulation dictates the services available to a Medicaid recipient when traveling for approved medically necessary treatment.  


Can medical staff members traveling for business travel or attending a conference use for this service? 
Yes, our service is available to you the medical staff member whether you are going to a medical conference, or simply traveling for medical business.  All medical travelers can take advantage of our guaranteed lowest hotel and airfares.

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Referrals for patient travel


  • 866-460-9863
A specialty provider assisting patients/caretakers with discounted travel and lodging.  Hospital Traveler provides a Medicaid/Insurance travel program helping eligible patients and their caretakers utilize their benefits with little to no upfront cost.
  • 800-296-1217  
  • The NATIONAL PATIENT TRAVEL HELPLINE provides information about long-distance medical air transportation to sources of help available in the national charitable medical air transportation network.
Ronald McDonald House Charities
Ronald McDonald House program provides a home-away-from-home temporary lodging facility for families of seriously ill children being treated at nearby hospitals.  Ronald McDonald Family Room program provides a home-like, safe haven within hospitals for families and children where they can reflect, shower or rest.
Hope Lodge
The American Cancer Society through 22 Hope Lodges offers free, temporary housing facilities for cancer patients who are undergoing treatment. 
National Association of Hospital Hospitality Houses
The National Association of Hospital Hospitality Houses, Inc. provides lodging and other supportive services to patients and their families when confronted with emergencies.
National Children’s Cancer Society
The National Children’s Cancer Society provides direct financial assistance for medical and non-medical expenses related to treatment for children with cancer.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 June 2010 22:51