We reviewed the top 12 Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans (SNPs) available in Elk County, Pennsylvania for 2023 (2024 plans will be available in early October. Sign-up for notification HERE). This is what we learned:
- SNPs are not open to everyone with Medicare in Elk County. Only people who meet certain qualifications are eligible to join.
- If you have both Medicare and Medicaid, most of the costs will be covered for you, otherwise, your costs will be similar to other Medicare Advantage plans.
- The average premium is $37.02 per month.
- SNPs cover the same services as Original Medicare and all other Medicare Advantage plans.
- All SNPs available in Elk County offer additional benefits that Original Medicare does not cover, including a Medicare Part D drug plan.
- The average drug plan deductible is $505.00 per year.
- Each Special Needs Plan is designed to provide the benefits, healthcare providers, and drug formularies needed to meet the needs of the beneficiaries they serve.
- Medicare rated 82% of all SNPs in Elk County 4 stars or higher.
NOTE: 2024 Medicare plan information will be available in early October. Sign-up for notification HERE.
Elk County, Pennsylvania Medicare SNP Plans
|Plan Name||Type||Premium||Network||Part D
|Aetna Medicare Advantra Cares||D-SNP||$25||HMO||$505|
|Geisinger Gold Secure Rx||D-SNP||$41||HMO||$505|
|HumanaChoice SNP-DE H5216-227||D-SNP||$33||PPO||$505|
|UPMC for Life Complete Care||D-SNP||$41||HMO||$505|
|Highmark Wholecare Medicare Assured Diamond||D-SNP||$41||HMO||$505|
|Highmark Wholecare Medicare Assured Ruby||D-SNP||$41||HMO||$505|
|UnitedHealthcare Dual Complete||D-SNP||$34||HMO-POS||$505|
|UnitedHealthcare Dual Complete Choice||D-SNP||$41||PPO||$505|
|UnitedHealthcare Dual Complete Select||D-SNP||$38||HMO-POS||$505|
|AmeriHealth Caritas VIP Care||D-SNP||$41||HMO||$505|
|Wellcare Dual Access||D-SNP||$31||HMO||$505|
Elk County, PA
Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan Information
Special Needs Plans (SNPs), which are part of the Medicare Advantage program, are a private health plan alternative to Original Medicare. However, not everyone with Medicare who lives in Elk County will qualify. As the name implies, the 12 SNPs available are for people with special needs. Each plan is facilitated by Medicare-approved private companies that agree to provide coverage by Medicare's rules. All plans offer additional benefits that aren’t available through Original Medicare.
SNP plans are limited to those who qualify. To qualify as a special needs individual, you must meet one or more of three criteria:
- An institutionalized individual,
- A dual-eligible (Medicare and Medicaid) person, or
- An individual with a severe or disabling chronic condition.
There are Different Types of Special Needs Plans
Not all Medicare Special Needs Plans are the same. There are three different type:
- Dual-eligible Special Needs Plans (D-SNP) are for beneficiaries with both Medicare and Medicaid benefits.
- Institutional Special Needs Plans (I-SNP) serve people staying in a long-term care facility or a skilled nursing facility.
- Chronic Condition Special Needs Plans (C-SNP) provide coordinated care Medicare beneficiaries with one or more serious diseases, including diabetes, end-stage renal disease (ESRD), and certain lung and 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)
When Can I Get a Special Needs Plan in Elk County?
Even if you are one of the few Elk County residents who qualify, you are only allowed to join, drop or change plans during a Medicare Election Period. The period between 15 October and 7 December is the Annual Election Period (AEP). That's when most folks make changes to their Medicare.
There's also an Individual Election Period (IEP) that you can use once. Your IEP is a 7-month period around your 65th birthday. It starts three months before you turn 65 and ends three months after.
Outside of these periods, you may be able to join a Special Needs Plan with a Special Election Period. Some situations that may qualify you for a Special Election Period include:
- 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.
How to Enroll in a Medicare Special Needs Plan in Elk 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
- CMS.gov, "Special Needs Plans", Last Accessed April 15, 2022
- CMS.gov, "Institutional Special Needs Plans (I-SNPs)", Last Accessed April 19, 2022
- Medicare.gov, "Types of Medicare Advantage Plans", Last Accessed May 17, 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.