May 10, 2017

Blue Cross Blue Shield plans will offer free Lyft rides

Josh Edelson / AP

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is partnering with ride-sharing company Lyft (and not Uber) to help people who may not have reliable transportation get to their routine doctors' appointments.

How it works: The service will launch in the fall and will be free for people who have commercial Blue Cross and Blue Shield coverage through their jobs. It's possible the service could be extended to seniors on Medicare Advantage and people with Affordable Care Act plans.

Health care's intersection with ride-sharing: Dr. Trent Haywood, the BCBSA's chief medical officer, said the partnership will aid people who live in "transportation deserts" and who are therefore more likely to skip their appointment or not fill their drug prescriptions because they can't find a ride. Skipping a doctor's visit or not taking medication could result in more expensive hospitalizations. Many hospitals and health systems, such as Ascension, also have shown interest in ride-sharing services.

No financial terms were disclosed: But given that the average Lyft ride costs about $12 and that Haywood estimates there are "conservatively" 10 million members in a transportation desert, it's likely this is a multi-million-dollar upfront investment for Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans. The association did not say how many of its 36 affiliate companies will offer Lyft rides.

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  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 188,172 — Total deaths: 3,873 — Total recoveries: 7,024.
  3. Business updates: Should you pay your rent or mortgage during the coronavirus pandemic? Find out if you are protected under the CARES Act.
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  5. Federal government latest: President Trump said the next two weeks would be "very painful," with projections indicating the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans.
  6. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Captain of nuclear aircraft carrier docked in Guam pleaded with the U.S. Navy for more resources after more than 100 members of his crew tested positive.
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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The novel coronavirus pandemic is the "greatest test" the world has faced together since the formation of the United Nations just after the Second World War ended in 1945, UN chief António Guterres said Tuesday.

The big picture: COVID-19 cases surged past 856,000 and the death toll exceeded 42,000 Tuesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy reported more than 12,000 deaths.

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Why it matters: It's a somber new tone from the president that comes after his medical advisers showed him data projecting that the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans — even with strict social distancing guidelines in place.

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