Member Wallet: A More Efficient and Convenient Process for Public Transit Fare Distribution
An antiquated, expensive, and time consuming process for distributing bus passes and tickets to Medicaid and Medicare members via mail was becoming increasingly inefficient.
MTM introduced the Member Wallet program, which automates the public transit process and disburses funds to members to purchase transit fare via a pre-paid, reloadable debit card instead of mailing individual passes and tickets.
97% reduction in public transit trip processing time, giving members more timely access to their transit fare while allowing MTM to decrease administrative costs and reduce fraud, waste, and abuse of transit tickets and passes.
As a non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) broker for health plans, managed care organizations, and state and county governments, MTM is committed to being a responsible steward of our clients’ funding sources. We are always searching for innovative ways to encourage members to utilize the most cost-efficient mode of transportation that best suits their physical, mental, and developmental needs, which means public transit is our first mode of choice when appropriate for the member.
Historically, MTM and other NEMT brokers have distributed physical public transit fare like individual paper tickets and weekly/monthly passes to members via mail after they call to schedule their trips. In fact, in 2020, 88% of public transit trips processed by MTM required mailing physical passes to the member. This process is cumbersome, time consuming, and costly, especially when delivery service has to be expedited to reach the member in time for their trip. This is frustrating for members who sometimes wait up to 10 business days for their fare to arrive in the mail, requires MTM to assign a higher mode of transportation when fare will not arrive to the member in time, and leaves little opportunity for MTM to verify that mailed fare is actually used to take approved trips.
In late 2020, MTM launched a rebranded and streamlined public transit process called Member Wallet, which makes taking public transit more convenient and efficient for members. Through Member Wallet, MTM distributes funds for public transit tickets and passes to members via a pre-paid, reloadable debit card. Instead of MTM mailing members physical tickets and passes, members can purchase their own fare before their trip using their MTM-issued debit card.
Here’s how Member Wallet works:
- The member calls MTM to schedule their public transit trip
- MTM loads funds to pay for the bus pass or ticket onto the member’s card in advance of their trip
- The member uses the funds to purchase their fare online or at a transit depot
Use of the card is controlled by specific Merchant Category Codes (MCCs), allowing MTM to restrict where members can utilize the card and its funds. Specifically, MTM reduced allowable MCCs from more than 300 to just one. With this coding, members can only use their card to make public transit purchases, ensuring funds are used solely for their intended purpose.
In partnership with a managed care client, MTM launched Member Wallet among the health plan’s Pennsylvania membership in December 2020. The plan’s member population in this area are high utilizers of public transit. Approximately 4,900 members utilize Member Wallet for their public transit trips, leading to increased efficiencies, higher member satisfaction and willingness to take public transit, and reduced fraud, waste, and abuse.
Traditional Fare Distribution
Faster Delivery Time
Funds to purchase transit fare are loaded to the member’s debit card the next day.
Mailed passes and tickets can take up to 10 business days to reach the member.
Reduced Processing Time
Total processing time to load fare to the member’s card is less than two minutes, a 97% reduction in processing time vs. the previous process.
For every 21 pieces of transit fare mailed to members, MTM staff spend approximately 72 minutes printing and sorting letters, stuffing envelopes, and documenting the trip.
Elimination of Fare Inventory
No fare inventory necessary.
MTM has to purchase and keep adequate amounts of transit fare on hand for multiple transit systems, which may never actually be used.
Reduction in Fraud, Waste, and Abuse
Because spending is restricted to specific MCCs, members can only use the loaded funds to purchase public transit fare; additionally, members can’t use the card at ATMs or to request cash back. As an added layer of protection, MTM has full visibility into transaction history to ensure funds were used to purchase transit fare. Additionally, if agreed upon by the client, MTM can remove unused funds or deactivate cards at the client’s discretion.
MTM is unable to verify if the member ever actually utilized the mailed public transit fare to take their MTM-approved trip.
MTM receives thorough reporting that assists with identifying and rectifying potential misuse.
No visibility into fare usage.