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Changes in the national Special Needs Plan (SNP) landscape result in slightly more 2024 SNP options and wider availability.

Category: Annual Medicare Plan Changes
Published: Oct, 07 2023 02:10:47

Special Needs Plans (SNPs) are a type of Medicare Advantage plan with plan benefits, healthcare provider choices, and drug formularies (list of covered drugs) designed to accommodate the needs of a particular group of people meeting certain requirements – such as people suffering from a chronic condition or illness (for example, diabetes or a chronic cardiac conditions) – or nursing home residents – or people who have limited financial resources (for example, people eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid).

The Big Picture:   Changes in the national SNP landscape result in slightly more 2024 SNP options.

First, based on our analysis, the bad news is that about 21% of the 2023 Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans (SNPs) will be discontinued in 2024 – this is compared to 14% in 2023.

However, the good news is there are 539 new 2024 Medicare Advantage SNPs that will be introduced – and with these newly released SNPs, we will actually see a net 4% increase in the total nationwide 2024 SNP offerings (see section 1 below).  The vast majority of SNPs remains Dual-Eligible – D-SNPs (64%).  More good news, when analyzing the service area size for each 2024 SNP, a net 21% increase in plan accessibility is noted (see section 2 below).

Across the country, we will see an increase in the total number of 2024 Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans (SNPs); and SNP gains in some counties will more than offset SNP losses in other areas (or even the same counties).  You can see plan year 2023 to 2024 SNP gains and losses with our Medicare Advantage plan comparison tool MA-Compare found at MA-Compare.com.

(1) The types of 2024 Special Needs Plans

SNPs are divided into three major types of special need:
  • Chronic Care SNPs or C-SNPs (like diabetes, heart disease, or ESRD) (more details in section 3 below),

  • Dual-Eligible Medicare/Medicaid SNPs or D-SNPs (for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries), and

  • Institutional SNPs or I-SNPs (for Nursing and Long-Term Care (LTC) residents).
From the 2024 Medicare Advantage plan information, there are a total of 1,333 Special Needs Plans available across the country in 2024.  And as can be seen below, the vast majority of SNPs are D-SNPs designed for people eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.

2024 Special Needs Medicare Advantage Plans
by Type of Special Need
SNP Type 2024 Plans 2023 Plans Net Change* % Net Change Dropped Plans* % of '23 SNPs Dropped 2022 Plans 2021 Plans
Chronic Care 309 306 3 1% 90 29% 272 203
Dual Eligible 851 789 62 8% 124 16% 700 598
Institutional 173 189 -16 -8% 52 28% 184 174
Total 1,333 1,284 49 4% 266 21% 1,156 975

The chart below summarizes the 2024 Special Needs Plan landscape and how the SNP landscape has changed over the past few years.

Showing the different types of Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans (SNPs) over the years

You can learn more about the 2024 SNPs available in your area by using our Medicare Advantage plan finder (MA-Finder.com/2024) or add your ZIP code to the MA-Finder.com link to see plans in your area (MA-Finder.com/2024/90001).

To get you started, here is an example of all 2024 Special Needs Plans available in Allegheny County, PA.

Please note, if you are using our MA-Finder and looking for a Dual-Eligible Medicare/Medicaid SNP (D-SNP), be sure to select  "Yes" for the "Show Premium with LIS Subsidy?" to see the actual D-SNP monthly premiums for dual-eligible Medicare/Medicaid beneficiaries.

(2) Changes within the SNP county-specific landscape

When comparing SNP reach (SNP plan multiplied by counties in the plan’s service area) we see an overall increase in plan reach.  There is a notable increase in the availability of dual-eligible SNPs and a small increase in the availability of both chronic care and institutional SNPs.

2024 Special Needs Plan Reach
(plan/county combinations)
by Type of Need
SNP Type 2024 2023 Change
'23 to '24
Percent Change
'23 to '24
2022 2021 2013
Chronic Care 5,499 4,566 933 20% 3,437 2,667 6,402
Dual Eligible 30,073 24,789 5,284 21% 18,831 15,235 5,284
Institutional 4,137 3,410 727 21% 3,122 2,441 537
Total 39,709 32,765 6,944 21% 25,390 20,343 12,223

As noted, the vast majority (64%) of SNPs remain dual-eligible Medicare/Medicaid plans (D-SNPs).  However, the number of counties across the country offering a Medicare Advantage Chronic Care C-SNP will increase by 10% and the number of counties offering an Institutional I-SNP will increase almost 17%.
2024 Special Needs Plan Reach
(Number of unique counties where SNP type is offered)
by Type of Need
SNP Type 2024 2023 Change
'23 to '24
Percent Change
'23 to '24
Chronic Care 2,014 1,824 190 10.42%
Dual Eligible 2,881 2,847 34 1.19%
Institutional 1,806 1,549 257 16.59%

When evaluating unique counties where one or more SNPs is offered, 3,018 counties will offer one or more SNP as compared to 2,961 counties in 2023 – an increase of 57 counties.

Question:  In which counties can we find the most SNPs?

As in past years, the most Special Needs Plans are available within densely populated counties located in New York, Florida, and California with the highest 2024 SNP plan counts concentrated in Florida.

(3) A closer look at the types of 2024 Chronic Care SNPs (C-SNPs)

Medicare Advantage Chronic Care Special Needs Plans can be further divided into the type of chronic care that the plan is designed to address – and the specific types of chronic conditions addressed by the SNPs varies slightly year-to-year, with a notable increase in "Cardiovascular Disorders, Chronic Heart Failure and Diabetes" SNPs.

2024 Special Needs – Chronic Care Plans
Compared to the 2023 Plan Year
Chronic Care Number of SNPs
2024 Plans 2023 Plans Net Change 2022 Plans 2021 Plans
Cardiovascular Disorders 0 1 -1 1 1
Cardiovascular Disorders and Chronic Heart Failure 14 22 -8 20 14
Cardiovascular Disorders and Diabetes 6 5 1 4 6
Cardiovascular Disorders, Chronic Heart Failure and Diabetes 194 164 30 141 93
Chronic and Disabling Mental Health Conditions 0 2 -2 5 3
Cardiovascular Disorders or Chronic Heart Failure or Diabetes Mellitus 3 5 -2 3 3
Chronic Heart Failure 2 3 -1 3 3
Chronic Heart Failure and Diabetes 2 2 0 4 3
Chronic Lung Disorders 29 35 -6 29 23
Dementia 4 6 -2 8 7
Diabetes Mellitus 21 36 -15 34 34
End-stage Renal Disease Requiring Dialysis 32 23 9 17 9
End-stage Renal Disease Requiring Dialysis or HIV/AIDS 0 3 -3 3 0
HIV/AIDS 1 3 -2 3 4
Total Chronic Care SNPs 308 310 -2 275 203

Important Reminder:  A Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan (SNP) is not for everyone.

Often you will find a Medicare Advantage SNP in your area that is very well-priced with feature-rich benefits and an extensive drug formulary – making the plan a very appealing coverage option.

But, please remember that you cannot join (or remain in) a Medicare Advantage SNP unless you qualify for the plan’s “Special Need” – that is, SNPs are designed for people with specific conditions, diseases, or characteristics – and you must meet (and continue to meet) the plan's "Special Need" to be eligible for enrollment.

For example, if you do not qualify for your state's Medicaid program, you will not be eligible to join a Dual-Eligible (Medicare/Medicaid) SNP.   For more information about qualifying for a SNP, please contact a local SHIP volunteer or telephone a Medicare representative at 1-800-Medicare.

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