As the population in the United States continues to age, the Non-Emergency Transportation (NEMT) market is growing alongside it. Aging, chronic conditions, and any number of environmental factors are all contributing to the estimated 9.0% compound annual growth rate for the industry, and many are looking to get in on an industry nearly doubling in size over the next several years.
As with any service operating in the medical field, getting a business started isn’t as simple as creating an LLC and jumping right into providing transportation. There are several considerations a prospective entrepreneur looking to start their own NEMT business needs to consider before they start buying up vehicles and loading up passengers.
Application Process And What It Entails
- Identifying Information
Typically this means a social security number. If that is not available, a FEIN or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) available from IRS documents will also work. These include an IRS-generated Letter 147-C, Forms 941, 8109-C, or SS-4. You will also need a valid driver’s license to operate the vehicle used to provide transportation services.
- Paperwork for operating within a locality
Almost every business that services customers within a locality require a business license, tax certificate, and permit for that business, and the NEMT industry is no exception. In order to receive your license as a certified NEMT, you’ll need to follow local regulations to ensure your business is legally permitted to operate your commercial vehicle within its boundaries. When opening new contracts, ensure that you have a license for operating in the cities where you will be transporting passengers, as this is necessary for compliance with both local laws and your insurance policies.
- Appropriate Classification Of The Business
Business classifications come in many forms – limited liability company, corporation, fictitious business name statement, etc. The business needs to be documented BEFORE starting operations and applying for certification from the state.
One of the most important yet overlooked needs for a NEMT business is being fully insured. The state needs the operator’s business to be covered by commercial liability insurance AND worker’s compensation insurance – but these are just the minimum requirements for submitting your application.
In reality, your NEMT will need a number of different policies to be considered fully covered. Any business transporting passengers by vehicle will face a significant level of risk, which goes double for transporting passengers that will potentially have health conditions that put them at extra hazard of injury or death.
If you are dipping your toes into the NEMT sector, we recommend you consult insurance policy experts like S.W.A.N. Insurance to find out the full extent of insurance coverage your business will need to cover all eventualities. While there is plenty of room for growth operating within the industry, there is also no shortage of risk – any accident can have life-altering consequences for both those involved in the crash and the vehicle owner. By properly insuring your business, you can limit the level of risk you and your business will face as you conduct their day-to-day operations.
- Items To Include In Your NEMT Vehicle
Your vehicle is going to be providing transportation services to customers with disabilities that don’t allow them to be driving themselves and require specialized vehicles to accommodate them. This often means that they will be wheelchair-bound or require the use of a walker or other assistive medical devices.
The vehicle will need the appropriate equipment to accommodate these special needs. This can include, but isn’t limited to: a wheelchair ramp or winch to help passengers enter the vehicle, wheelchair ties to ensure stability during transport, specialized seating for disabled passengers, extra walkers and storage for walkers, and even a gurney if the passenger is bound to their beds.