Press Releases
August 14, 2017

Better Medicare Alliance Launches Campaign in Support of Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans

New Survey Finds 92% of Seniors Unaware of Critical Health Option for the Chronically Ill; 61% Unsure or Do Not Believe Medicare or Medicaid Coverage is Adequate for Serious, Chronic Conditions

Washington, D.C. –Today, Better Medicare Alliance (BMA), the leading advocacy coalition supporting Medicare Advantage, announced the launch of an advocacy campaign in support of permanent authorization of Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans (SNPs), specialized health plans designed for chronically ill, frail or disabled beneficiaries.

While enrollment in SNPs has grown to 2.4 million people since the program was established in 2003, a new Morning Consult survey of Medicare-eligible beneficiaries found that 92% of respondents had never heard of a SNP plan and even less (95%) were unsure if they would meet the eligibility requirements to enroll.

SNPs plans can include beneficiaries who are dually-eligible for Medicare and Medicaid (D-SNPs), have certain chronic conditions (C-SNPs), or receive long-term care in an institutional setting such as a Skilled Nursing Facility (I-SNPs).

The survey also indicated that many seniors feel there is a need for improved health care for those with chronic conditions. Sixty-one percent of respondents said they did not believe Traditional Medicare or Medicaid provides high-quality coverage in case of a serious, chronic condition. The survey conducted by Morning Consult, on behalf of BMA surveyed 1,999 Seniors from July 24 – July 26, 2017 with a margin of error of +/- 2%.

SNPs provide care tailored to high need, complex beneficiaries through care management tools, such as care managers, interdisciplinary teams, specialized provider networks, enhanced home and community-based services, and data sharing across health plans and providers. Recent studies have shown that SNPs can result in lower hospital readmission rates for beneficiaries.

As part of efforts to inform policy influencers on SNPs, BMA has prepared a suite of policy documents including “Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans” fact sheet and issue brief, as well as a case study report of several SNPs, entitled “Spotlight on Innovation: Meeting Special Needs of Beneficiaries in Medicare Advantage.

BMA is also kicking off a two-month grassroots campaign to educate and activate senior advocates to call on their representatives in Congress to vote for legislation in support of SNPs. Medicare Advantage senior advocates will write letters to Congress, letters to their local newspaper, and will visit Congressional offices in-district during the August recess.

Last month, BMA and 11 health organizations jointly sent a letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders in support of permanent authorization prior to the Health Subcommittee’s hearing on reauthorization of SNPs.

“Today, three in four seniors have multiple chronic conditions and 10 percent of beneficiaries account for more than 60 percent of Medicare costs each year. Better Medicare Alliance strongly supports beneficiaries’ access to the quality, coordinated, and high value care offered by Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans. Long term authorization would provide the certainty needed by beneficiaries to fully benefit from these specialized care plans and provide stability necessary for plans and providers to expand the option for the growing numbers of seniors eligible for SNPs.,” said Allyson Y. Schwartz, BMA President and CEO.

In the coming months, BMA will continue to mobilize stakeholders to advocate for legislation in support of SNPs.


AIDS Healthcare Foundation

Alliance of Community Health Plans

America’s Health Insurance Plans

Association for Community Affiliated Plans

Better Medicare Alliance

Blue Cross Blue Shield Association

Healthcare Leadership Council

Meals on Wheels America

National Alliance on Mental Illness

National Coalition on Health Care

National Minority Quality Forum

SNP Alliance





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