Optum, Uber partner

Some Medicare Advantage beneficiaries will have coverage for Uber app purchases, including rides to physician visits and healthy foods, due to a new partnership between Optum and Uber.

Starting next year, Uber will allow Medicare Advantage members with a health benefit card issued on Optum's payments platform to purchase rides and groceries and over-the-counter items for delivery. The Uber app will keep a real-time record of which goods and services are covered by the Optum-enabled benefits card and charge it directly, removing the typical reimbursement process.

"The new and simple way to pay for items within the app, pairs the breadth and flexibility of Optum's leading health payment platform with Uber's national transportation merchant network of grocery and retail stores, and will be offered as part of select Medicare Advantage plan benefits for 2024," said a joint statement from Optum and Uber.

The partners expect to expand the benefits in the future to include Medicaid and commercial health plan beneficiaries.

Earlier this year, Uber's healthcare arm expanded to offer grocery and over-the-counter pharmacy products to beneficiaries of participating plans through the Uber Health platform, with the deliveries conducted by Uber Eats. This built upon the company's initial offerings of delivering healthy meals and same-day prescription medications to patients.

Next year, Uber Eats plans to start accepting food stamp benefits as pay for people with disability and transportation challenges as well.

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