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Significant changes in the 2022 Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan (SNP) landscape

Category: Annual Medicare Plan Changes
Published on 2021-10-02 12:03:58

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 (example, diabetics or a chronic cardiac conditions) or nursing home residents or people who have limited financial resources (example, people eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid).

The Big Picture: More 2022 SNP options

First, based on our analysis, the bad news is that about 15% of the 2021 Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans (SNPs) will be discontinued in 2022 — this is consistent with the change from 2020 to 2021.

However, the good news is a large number of new 2022 Medicare Advantage SNPs will be introduced - and with these newly released SNPs, we will actually see a 19% increase in the total nationwide 2022 SNP landscape, and a 34% increase in chronic illness SNPs (c-SNPs).  The vast majority of SNPs remains Dual-Eligible (D-SNPs) (61%). 

Across the country, we will see an increase in the total number of 2022 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 2021/2022 SNP gains and losses with our Medicare Advantage plan comparison tool MA-Compare found at https://MA-Compare.com.

Reminder: A Medicare Advantage SNP is not designed 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.

The types of 2022 Special Needs Plans

SNPs are divided into three major types of special need:
  • Chronic Illness SNPs or C-SNPs (like diabetes, heart disease, or ESRD),

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

  • Institutional SNPs (for Nursing and Long-Term Care (LTC) residents).
From the 2022 Medicare Advantage plan information, there are a total of 1,156 Special Needs Plans available across the country in 2022.  And as can be seen below, the vast majority of SNPs are D-SNPs designed for people eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.

2022 Special Needs Medicare Advantage Plans
by Type of Special Need
SNP Type 2022 Plans 2021 Plans Net Change* % Net Change Dropped Plans* % of '20 SNPs Dropped 2020 Plans 2019 Plans
Chronic Illness 272 203 69 34% 34 17% 165 127
Dual Eligible 700 598 102 17% 68 11% 540 465
Institutional 184 174 10 6% 45 26% 150 125
Total 1156 975 181 19% 147 15% 855 580

The chart below summarizes the 2022 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 2022 SNPs available in your area by using our Medicare Advantage plan finder (MA-Finder.com/2022) or add your ZIP code to the MA-Finder.com link to see plans in your area (MA-Finder.com/2022/90001).

To get you started, here is an example of all 2022 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.

Question:  In which counties can we find 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 (C-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. 

2022 Special Needs – Chronic Illness Plans
Compared to the 2021 Plan Year
Chronic Illness Number of SNPs

2022 Plans 2021 Plans Net Change 2020 Plans 2019 Plans
Cardiovascular Disorders 1 1 0 0 0
Cardiovascular Disorders and Chronic Heart Failure 20 14 6 10 6
Cardiovascular Disorders and Diabetes 4 6 -2 2 4
Cardiovascular Disorders, Chronic Heart Failure and Diabetes 141 93 48 67 45
Chronic and Disabling Mental Health Conditions 5 3 2 2 6
Cardiovascular Disorders or Chronic Heart Failure or Diabetes Mellitus 3 3 0 2 2
Chronic Heart Failure 3 3 0 1 1
Chronic Heart Failure and Diabetes 4 3 1 6 5
Chronic Lung Disorders 29 23 6 16 12
Dementia 8 7 1 8 6
Diabetes Mellitus 34 34 0 37 27
End-stage Renal Disease Requiring Dialysis (any mode of dialysis) 17 9 8 10 8
End-stage Renal Disease Requiring Dialysis or HIV/AIDS 3 0 3 0 2
HIV/AIDS 3 4 -1 4 3
Total Chronic Illness SNPs 275 203 72 165 127

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 both dual-eligible SNPs and a small increase in the number of chronic illness and institutional SNPs.

2022 Special Needs Plan Reach
by Type of Need
SNP Type 2022 2021 Change '21 to '22 Percent Change '21 to '22 2020 2019 2013
Chronic Illness 3,437 2,667 770 29% 2,364 2,131 6,402
Dual Eligible 18,831 15,235 3,596 24% 11,930 9,393 5,284
Institutional 3,122 2,441 681 28% 1,906 1,503 537
Total 25,390 20,343 5,047 25% 16,200 13,027 12,223

You can use our MA-Finder to review all 2022 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.)

To learn more about Special Needs Plans in your area, please call Medicare at 1-800-633-4227 and speak with a Medicare representative about your Medicare plan options.

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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.
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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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