Health Tech

Uber Health Announces Solution for Caregivers

Uber Health unveiled Uber Caregiver on Wednesday. The solution allows caregivers to coordinate rides and deliveries on the behalf of the ones they’re caring for.

Transportation company Uber Health unveiled a new solution on Wednesday that supports caregivers.

San Francisco-based Uber Health offers non-emergency medical transportation, grocery delivery and prescription delivery. The new solution, which was announced at the company’s annual product event GO-GET, is called Uber Caregiver. Starting this summer, care-receivers will be able to add their caregiver to their Uber profile. Caregivers will then be able to request rides and grocery delivery services for the people they’re caring for. They’ll also receive real-time updates on these rides and deliveries, and there is a three-way chat that allows the caregivers to communicate with the drivers.

In addition, caregivers will be able to view the care-receiver’s benefits, such as how many rides are covered and how much of the monthly grocery benefit is left. Care-receivers will also be able to give caregivers permission to pay for services with the health benefits on the app.

“Taking care of someone you love can be a beautiful form of connection, but it’s not without its challenges,” said Swathi Bhat, head of product at Uber Health, in an email. “In designing Uber Caregiver, we aimed to make stepping into that role a little easier.”

Currently, more than one in five Americans are caregivers, according to AARP. Caregivers have a difficult responsibility, often balancing caregiving with their job, raising children and other tasks. Half of caregivers say the work increases their emotional stress. In addition, challenges with insurance often lead to financial strain for the caregiver, with the average caregiver spending $7,000 annually out-of-pocket, AARP reported.

“Caregivers juggle many time-consuming and complex tasks — from day-to-day responsibilities like medication management, to logistical matters like communicating with a health plan to understand benefits, to submitting expenses for reimbursement,” Bhat said. “On top of that, many balance caregiving responsibilities with additional household and family duties or jobs outside the home. This has been shown to lead to increased stress and high out-of-pocket costs.”

Uber Health said that it plans to build on these caregiver services in the future by working with Medicare Advantage, Medicaid and commercial plans.

In launching Uber Caregiver, the company ultimately aims to reduce the pressure that caregivers often deal with, said Zachary Clark, head of growth at Uber Health.

“Caregivers are the invisible backbone of our healthcare system,” Clark said in an email. “People often need help navigating their care, and rely on friends and family to help them do so. While caregivers want to be there for the people they love most, their role is not without logistical, financial, and mental challenges. Our goal with Uber Caregiver is to help ease the burden. We aim to make tasks like grocery shopping, coordinating doctor’s appointments, and decoding healthcare benefits more collaborative and seamless.”

Other companies that provide caregiving support include Papa and Homethrive.

Photo: ipopba, Getty Images