Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans continue to grow

Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans (SNPs) continue to grow according to Mark Farrah Associates' (MFA),, latest Business Strategy report. In 2003, Congress established SNPs to serve institutionalized beneficiaries, dual-eligible beneficiaries, and/or individuals with severe or disabling chronic conditions. The program was originally expected to expire in 2008; however, SNPs have been reauthorized and changed several times. Most recently, the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, H.R. 4302 -- also known as the 2014 Doc Fix bill -- among its many other provisions, extended the SNP program through December 31, 2016. H.R. 4302 was passed by the U.S. Senate on Monday, March 31, 2014, and sent to the President for signature on April 1, 2014. Despite its nearly biennial re-authorization process, the SNP program has been quite popular. MFA found, as of March 2014, nearly 1.9 million people or 12% of the 15.7 million members enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans have selected or have been auto-assigned to special needs plans.

Since May 2007, when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began reporting SNP data, total enrollment has more than doubled from 906,000 to nearly 1.888 million as of March 1, 2014. From March 2013 to March 2014, SNP enrollment increased 13%, according to the analysis done by MFA.

All but six states have people enrolled in SNPs as of March 2014. The six exception states are: Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming. UnitedHealthcare, the largest health insurance carrier in the U.S. based on enrollment, provides coverage for 23% of the people enrolled in SNPs and is the leading plan in the Special Needs market. In the latest Healthcare Business Strategy report, MFA aggregated and analyzed enrollment data for all SNPs nationwide.


Mark Farrah Associates (MFA)

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