WASHINGTON, Aug. 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- 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 have grown to 2.4 million people since the program was established in 2003, a recent 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).
Despite lack of awareness and high uncertainty regarding access to SNPs, the survey indicated that many seniors feel there is a need for improved health coverage 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.
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 educate policy influencers on SNPs, BMA has published a suite of policy documents including "Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans" fact sheet and issue brief as well as a case study 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 12 health organizations sent a letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders as the Health Subcommittee held a hearing examining permanent authorization of SNPs.
"Today, three in four seniors aged 65 and older have multiple chronic conditions and 10 percent of Medicare beneficiaries account for more than 60 percent of health 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 and we believe previous patterns of short-term reauthorizations have created uncertainty about the future of the program," 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.
VIEW A COALITION LETTER SIGNED BY SUPPORTERS 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
Better Medicare Alliance is the leading coalition on Medicare Advantage. Our mission is to build a healthy future by advocating for a strong Medicare Advantage. As a community of experts, we're leading the way on health care through research, advocacy, and grassroots organization to create a path forward for innovative, modern health care on behalf of seniors and people with disabilities. For more information, please visit www.bettermedicarealliance.org.
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SOURCE Better Medicare Alliance