New Policy Recommendations to Improve Medicare Special Needs Plans

eAlert bf823c05-1e0c-4aff-b0ec-a6d63a383f61

<p>The Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc., has released a set of <a href=" Conference/Recommendations.htm">policy recommendations</a> for improving Medicare Special Needs Plans (SNPs). SNPs were created by the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 to serve beneficiaries who reside in institutions, have severe or disabling chronic conditions, or are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid benefits (dual eligibles). The number of authorized SNPs has grown from 11 plans in 2004 to 477 plans in 2007 and 775 plans in 2008, and currently the plans enroll over 1 million Medicare beneficiaries.<br><br>Partly because of the program's rapid expansion, some beneficiaries have experienced difficult transitions into SNPs as well as problems accessing health care once enrolled. Among the legislative and administrative changes recommended by the Center for Medicare Advocacy is the establishment of federally enforceable standards for the care and coverage of SNP enrollees, so that their special needs can be adequately met.<br><br>"SNPs have great potential for treating people with chronic conditions and coordinating care," says Stuart Guterman, who directs The Commonwealth Fund's Program on Medicare's Future. "With reauthorization on the horizon, it's an appropriate time to discuss what should be formally expected of these plans so they can achieve this potential."</p>