We reviewed the top 21 Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans (SNPs) available in Bucks County, Pennsylvania for 2023 (2024 plans will be available in early October. Sign-up for notification HERE). This is what we learned:
- SNP membership is restricted to people with specific diseases, income levels, or institutional needs.
- The average monthly premium for a Special Needs Plan in this area is $42.18.
- If you qualify for Medicaid, most copayments and other out-of-pocket costs will be covered for you. If not, your costs will be similar to traditional Medicare Advantage plans.
- All plans include a Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D). The average Part D deductible is $429.25.
- SNPs must cover the same services as Original Medicare.
- Each plan is tailored to provide the benefits, doctor choices, and prescription drug formularies needed to best serve its members.
- Medicare rated 70% of all SNPs in Bucks County 4 stars or higher.
NOTE: 2024 Medicare plan information will be available in early October. Sign-up for notification HERE.
Bucks County, Pennsylvania Medicare SNP Plans
Bucks County, PA
Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan Information
Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans (SNPs) are an alternative to Original Medicare. However, SNPs are not available to all Medicare beneficiaries in Bucks County. There are currently 21 SNPs available. Each plan is managed by a Medicare-approved private health plan following the strict rules and requirements set by Medicare.
To qualify as a person with special needs you must meet one or more of the following criteria:
- An institutionalized individual,
- A dual-eligible (Medicare and Medicaid) person, or
- An individual with a severe or disabling chronic condition.
Three Types of Special Needs Plans
Medicare allows private carriers to create different types of SNPs to meet three distinct needs:
- D-SNPs are for dual-eligible people who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid benefits.
- I-SNPs are for institutionalized beneficiaries who live in a long-term care facility or a skilled nursing facility.
- C-SNPs are specially designed plans for people with one or more serious chronic conditions, including diabetes, end-stage renal disease (ESRD), lung conditions or heart disease.
Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans (D-SNPs) accept people who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. Pennsylvania covers some Medicare costs, depending on the beneficiary’s eligibility. Medicaid eligibility categories include:
Institutional Special Needs Plans (I-SNPs) are SNPs that restrict enrollment to Medicare beneficiaries who, for 90 days or longer, have had or are expected to need the level of services provided in a long-term care facility, skilled nursing facility, an intermediate care facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities, or an inpatient psychiatric facility.
Prior to enrolling in a I-SNP, beneficiaries are advised to verify their institution accepts the plan and that its healthcare providers are in the plan's provider network.
Chronic Condition SNPs restrict enrollment to special needs individuals with severe or disabling chronic conditions. About two-thirds of Medicare enrollees have multiple chronic conditions requiring coordination of care among primary care providers, medical and mental health specialists, inpatient and outpatient facilities, and extensive ancillary services related to diagnostic testing and therapeutic management.
There are 15 SNP-specific chronic conditions::
- Chronic alcohol and other drug dependence
- Autoimmune disorders (limited)
- Cancer, excluding pre-cancer conditions or in-situ status
- Cardiovascular disorders (limited)
- Chronic heart failure
- Diabetes mellitus
- End-stage liver disease
- End-stage renal disease (ESRD) requiring dialysis
- Severe hematologic disorders (limited)
- Chronic lung disorders (limited)
- Chronic and disabling mental health conditions (limited)
- Neurologic disorders (limited)
Do I Need to Wait to Get a Special Needs Plan?
If you qualify for a Bucks County SNP, you can join or switch plans during a Medicare Election Period. For most people, the Annual Election Period (AEP), which starts on 15 October and ends 7 December, is the time they update their enrollment.
Most of us also get an Individual Election Period (IEP), but it only comes around once. Your IEP is based on your 65th birthday. It starts three months before your birth month and ends three months after, so you have plenty of time.
You may also qualify for a Special Election Period in certain situations, including:
- You are diagnosed with a severe or disabling condition: You can enroll in a Chronic-Condition Special Needs Plan (C-SNP) for beneficiaries with your illness at any time.
- You move into a nursing home or require skilled nursing care at home: You can enroll in an Institution Special Needs Plan (I-SNP) or switch plans at any time.
- You qualify for Medicaid: If you have Medicaid or are newly eligible for Medicaid, you can enroll in a Dual-Eligible Medicare Special Needs Plan (D-SNP) at any time.
- You move outside of your existing Special Needs Plan’s service area: You'll qualify for a Special Election Period to switch to a new plan.
- Your Special Needs Plan leaves the Medicare program: You'll qualify for a Special Election Period to switch plans.
Getting Enrolled in a Special Needs Plan in Bucks County
There are three ways to enroll in an SNP:
- Call our Trusted Partner at 1-855-728-0510 (TTY 711). This toll-free number is staffed by HealthCompare, the outsourced partner of choice for some of the nation’s largest health plans.
- Call a plan directly. If you know the plan you want, this way is quick and easy. All of our plan pages provide contact information.
- Go to www.Medicare.gov and enroll through the government website. From there you can look up your medications, compare plans, and get your application started online.
Medicare Advantage and Part D plans and benefits offered by the following carriers: Aetna Medicare, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aspire Health Plan, Centene Corporation, Dean Health Plan, Devoted Health, GlobalHealth, Health Care Service Corporation, Cigna-HealthSpring, Humana, Molina Healthcare, Mutual of Omaha, Oscar Health Insurance, Premera Blue Cross, Medica Central Health Plan, SCAN Health Plan, Scott and White Health Plan now part of Baylor Scott & White Health, and UnitedHealthcare.
Citations & References
- CMS.gov, 2023 SNP Landscape Source Files, Last Accessed January 13, 2023
- Medicare.gov, "How Medicare Special Needs Plans (SNPs) work", Last Accessed May 11, 2022
- CMS.gov, "Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans (D-SNPs)", Last Accessed April 3, 2022
- Medicare.gov, "Understanding Medicare", Last Accessed June 18, 2022
Our content follows the guidance provided by the Medicare Marketing Guidelines on CMS.gov. If you believe the information on this page is inaccurate, please contact us.