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More 2019 Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan (SNP) options - with significant changes in the 2019 SNP landscape

Category: Annual Medicare Plan Changes
Published on 2018-10-07 12:21:52


Updated October 14, 2019 with CMS revised landscape data.

In general, as compared to past years, there will be an increase in the total number of 2019 Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans (SNPs) — with SNP losses in some service areas offset by SNP gains in other areas.  However, the net gain of 2019 SNPs does not highlight the significant overall changes in the 2019 SNP landscape.

First, the good news ...
We will have a number of new Medicare Advantage SNPs introduced in 2019 and with these newly released plans, we will actually see an 13.8% increase in the total nationwide 2019 SNP landscape.

But, 21% of all 2018 Special Needs Plans (SNPs) are discontinued for 2019
Based on our analysis, about 21% of the 2018 Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans (SNPs) will be discontinued in 2019 — as compared to around 17% of the 2017 Special Needs Plans that were discontinued in 2018.

As background, a brief review of Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans
Special Needs Plans 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 or who have limited financial resources.

A Medicare Advantage SNP is not designed for everyone.
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.

SNPs are divided into three major types of special needs:
  • Chronic Illness SNPs (like diabetes, heart disease, or ESRD),
  • Dual Eligible D-SNPs (for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries), and
  • Institutional SNPs (for Nursing and Long Term Care (LTC) residents).
From the 2019 Medicare Advantage plan information, there are a total of 690 Special Needs Plans available in 2019, the vast majority of SNPs are designed for people eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.

2019 Special Needs Plans
by Type of Special Need
SNP Type 2019 Plans 2018 Plans Net Change* % Net Change Dropped Plans* % of '18 SNPs Dropped 2017 Plans 2016 Plans
Chronic Illness 127 132 -5 -4% 28 21% 122 139
Dual Eligible 465 401 64 16% 75 19% 371 342
Institutional 125 97 28 29% 32 33% 87 69
Total 717 630 87 14% 135 21% 580 550


The chart below summarizes the 2019 Special Needs Plan landscape and how the SNP landscape has changed over the years.

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

 

You can learn more about the 2019 SNPs available in your area by using our Medicare Advantage plan finder (MA-Finder.com/2019) or add your ZIP code to the MA-Finder.com link to see plans in your area (MA-Finder.com/2019/90001).

And here is an example of all 2019 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 indicate "100%" for the "LIS Subsidy Amount" to see the actual D-SNP monthly premiums for full-dual eligible Medicare/Medicaid beneficiaries.

Where are the most SNPs?
As in past years, the most Special Needs Plans are available within a few counties located in New York, Florida, and California.


A further note on Chronic Illness SNPs
Medicare Advantage Chronic Illness Special Needs Plans can be further divided into the type of chronic illness that the plan is designed to address. 

2019 Special Needs – Chronic Illness Plans
Compared to the 2018 Plan Year
Chronic Illness Number of SNPs
2019 Plans 2018 Plans Change 2017 Plans 2016 Plans
Cardiovascular Disorders 0 1 -1 1 1
Cardiovascular Disorders & Chronic Heart Failure 6 10 -4 10 14
Cardiovascular Disorders and Diabetes 4 0 4 0 0
Cardiovascular Disorders, Chronic Heart Failure & Diabetes 45 45 0 40 49
Chronic and Disabling Mental Health Conditions 6 2 4 2 2
Cardiovascular Disorders, Chronic Heart Failure, Diabetes Mellitus 2 2 0 2 2
Chronic Heart Failure 1 0 1 2 2
Chronic Heart Failure & Diabetes 5 6 -1 6 7
Chronic Lung Disorders 12 14 -2 13 13
Dementia 6 6 0 2 2
Diabetes Mellitus 27 28 -1 27 34
End-stage Renal Disease Requiring Dialysis (any mode of dialysis) 8 15 -7 15 10
End-stage Renal Disease Requiring Dialysis or HIV/AIDS 2 0 2 0 0
HIV/AIDS 3 3 0 2 3
Total Chronic Illness SNPs 127 132 -5 122 139


Changes with the SNP 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 both dual eligible and institutional SNPs and, in 2019, once again a small increase in the number of chronic illness SNPs.

2019 Special Needs Plan Reach
by Type of Need
SNP Type 2019 2018 Change
'18 to '19
Percent Change
'18 to '19
2017 2016 2013
Chronic Illness 2,131 2,113 18 1% 2,108 2,551 6,402
Dual Eligible 9,393 7,990 1,403 18% 6,364 5,594 5,284
Institutional 1,503 1,165 338 29% 732 556 537
Total 13,027 11,268 1,759 16% 9,204 8,701 12,223

You can use our MA-Finder to review all 2019 Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans available in your area (just enter your ZIP code after clicking on the link or go to MA-Finder.com to start.)






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  • Disclaimer for Institutional Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone with Medicare who meets the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) level of care and resides in a nursing home.
  • Disclaimer for Dual Eligible (Medicare/Medicaid) Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone who has both Medical Assistance from the State and Medicare. Premiums, co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles may vary based on the level of Extra Help you receive. Please contact the plan for further details.
  • Disclaimer for Chronic Condition Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone with Medicare who has been diagnosed with the plan specific Chronic Condition.
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