Powered by Q1Group LLC
Education and Decision Support Tools for the Medicare Community

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.)

Medicare Supplements
fill the gaps in your
Original Medicare
1. Enter Your ZIP Code:
» Medicare Supplement FAQs

Ask a Pharmacist*
Have questions about your medication?

» Answers to Your Medication Questions, Free!
Available Monday - Friday
8am to 5pm MST
*A free service included with your no cost drug discount card.

Tips & Disclaimers
  • The Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plan data on our site comes directly from Medicare and is subject to change.
  • Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed the information on our site.
  • We provide our Q1Medicare.com site for educational purposes and strive to present unbiased and accurate information. However, Q1Medicare is not intended as a substitute for your lawyer, doctor, healthcare provider, financial advisor, or pharmacist. For more information on your Medicare coverage, please be sure to seek legal, medical, pharmaceutical, or financial advice from a licensed professional or telephone Medicare at 1-800-633-4227.
  • We are an independent education, research, and technology company. We are not affiliated with any Medicare plan, plan carrier, healthcare provider, or insurance company. We are not compensated for Medicare plan enrollments. We do not sell leads or share your personal information.
  • Benefits, formulary, pharmacy network, provider network, premium and/or co-payments/co-insurance may change on January 1 of each year. Our PDP-Compare.com and MA-Compare.com provide highlights of annual plan benefit changes.
  • The benefit information provided is a brief summary, not a complete description of benefits. For more information contact the plan.
  • Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply.
  • We make every effort to show all available Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plans in your service area. However, since our data is provided by Medicare, it is possible that this may not be a complete listing of plans available in your service area. For a complete listing please contact 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day/7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov.
  • When enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan, you must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium.
  • Medicare beneficiaries with higher incomes may be required to pay both a Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). Read more on IRMAA.
  • Medicare Advantage plans that include prescription drug coverage (MAPDs) are considered Medicare Part D plans and members with higher incomes may be subject to the Medicare Part D Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA), just as members in stand-alone Part D plans. In certain situations, you can appeal IRMAA.
  • You must be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. Members may enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan only during specific times of the year. Contact the Medicare plan for more information.
  • If you are enrolled in a Medicare plan with Part D prescription drug coverage, you may be eligible for financial Extra Help to assist with the payment of your prescription drug premiums and drug purchases. To see if you qualify for Extra Help, call: 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048, 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov; the Social Security Office at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. TTY users should call, 1-800-325-0778; or your state Medicaid Office.
  • Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-Star rating system. Star Ratings are calculated each year and may change from one year to the next.
  • A Medicare Advantage Private Fee-for-Service plan (PFFS) is not a Medicare supplement plan. Providers who do not contract with the plan are not required to see you except in an emergency.
  • 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.
  • Medicare MSA Plans combine a high deductible Medicare Advantage Plan and a trust or custodial savings account (as defined and/or approved by the IRS). The plan deposits money from Medicare into the account. You can use this money to pay for your health care costs, but only Medicare-covered expenses count toward your deductible. The amount deposited is usually less than your deductible amount, so you generally have to pay out-of-pocket before your coverage begins.
  • Medicare MSA Plans do not cover prescription drugs. If you join a Medicare MSA Plan, you can also join any separate (stand-alone) Medicare Part D prescription drug plan
  • There are additional restrictions to join an MSA plan, and enrollment is generally for a full calendar year unless you meet certain exceptions. Those who disenroll during the calendar year will owe a portion of the account deposit back to the plan. Contact the plan provider for additional information.
  • Medicare beneficiaries may enroll through the CMS Medicare Online Enrollment Center located at www.medicare.gov.
  • Medicare beneficiaries can file a complaint with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by calling 1-800-MEDICARE 24 hours a day/7 days or using the medicare.gov site. Beneficiaries can appoint a representative by submitting CMS Form-1696.