Uber Health to roll out new caregiving solution to simplify benefits, logistics for families

NEW YORK CITY—Uber Health will begin rolling out a new solution designed for caregivers this summer, the company announced at its annual product event Wednesday. 

Uber Caregiver will allow individuals to add a caregiver to their Uber profile. That caregiver can then see and spend that person’s health benefits on eligible services, request rides to doctors' appointments or order groceries. The caregiver will get real-time updates along the way and have access to a chat feature to communicate with the Uber driver as needed.

Individuals will need to use the Uber app to participate. Uber also offers a way for those who need help to request a ride by calling 1-833-USE-UBER from a phone with texting capabilities. The phone line also supports some health benefits cards.

Uber Caregiver add page
(Uber Health)

In the coming months, Uber Health will be working with Medicare Advantage, Medicaid and commercial plans to offer the solution, executives said Wednesday. 

Millions of Americans are caregivers. Caregiving responsibilities range from medication management to assistance with daily activities to scheduling appointments and grocery shopping. About half of caregivers say the role has increased their emotional stress, and more than a third say they’re rarely or never relaxed. 

“A lot of people, especially older adults—they want to feel empowered in terms of taking care of themselves with a little bit of help,” Swathi Bhat, Uber Health’s lead product manager, told Fierce Healthcare at the event. Uber Caregiver aims to unlock benefits that people previously might not have known about. 

Providers can already use the existing Uber Health dashboard to arrange patient rides and prescription medication and grocery delivery. Providers can also use the dashboard to track monthly billing statements and appointments and to produce scheduling reports.

In the future, Uber Health hopes to consolidate benefits for users, Bhat added, whether that is a Medicare flex card or travel benefits. Uber Caregiver could also support clinics that today rely on call centers to navigate caregiving by looping in family caregivers and streamlining their workflows. The goal is to “shift that to people who are closer to the family,” Bhat said.

Today, a lot of enterprise healthcare organizations already work with Uber Health, she noted. “Over time, we have started to build an understanding of who the member population is,” Bhat said, “and actually use that to kind of pass it on to the member.”

Caregivers will have the ability to coordinate transportation on the Uber app starting this summer, with additional features rolling out later this year. Any Uber driver will be able to do Caregiver trips.

“Taking care of someone you love is the most beautiful form of connection,” Bhat said in her presentation at the product event. 

Uber Caregiver benefits page
(Uber Health)

Also at the annual product event, Uber Health announced new ride-sharing features, Uber One for students and a partnership with Costco on Uber Eats. 

Maria Shriver, a journalist and the former first lady of California, sat down for a conversation with Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi to talk about her personal caregiving journey that led her to found the advocacy organization The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement. Shriver and Khosrowshahi talked about the importance of combating isolation in the elderly and in youth, with Shriver emphasizing the benefits of leading a purpose-driven life.

“If we’re not in connection, no matter our age, we become isolated, we become depressed,” Shriver said. “If you have a long-term vision to live a deeply meaningful life …then it’s actually easier to live that life, because you have a goal post.”