Analyst: MedPAC should extend special needs plans with stipulations

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A senior analyst with the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission asked the board to consider extending Medicare Advantage special needs plans (SNPs) for three years - but only under the condition that they offer specialized care.

Jennifer Podulka offered eight recommendations on refining aspects of Medicare Advantage SNPs, according to the Bureau of National Affairs. Among those recommendations: There should be a list of chronic conditions and other criteria appropriate for SNPs designated for those with chronic conditions. Dual eligible SNPs also should be required to contract with states in their service area to coordinate Medicaid benefits within three years. SNPs serve many nursing home residents. They enroll those beneficiaries who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, are institutionalized, or have severe or disabling chronic conditions.

The Senate Finance Committee is considering similar recommendations as part of a Medicare package. The commissioners are expected vote on the recommendations for a chapter in their March report.