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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Chronic Conditions & Medicare: Special Needs Plan (SNP)

What a Medicare SNP Costs

Your out-of-pocket costs will depend on how often you need care and the type of care you need. Whether you use doctors who are in your SNP's network or out of the network also will make a difference. You should know that:

  • Your costs probably will include your Medicare Part B premium plus any deductibles, coinsurance, or copays that your SNP charges.
  • In some plans, you also pay an SNP premium.
  • If you can get both Medicare and Medicaid, or if you have a limited income, you'll be able to get care without spending as much money.

Before you join an SNP, ask what you will be expected to pay.

How to Sign Up for a Medicare SNP

First, find an SNP in your area.

  • Call 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227).
  • Go online to the Medicare Plan Finder web site:
  • Contact your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program. (Scroll to SHIP under "choose organization.") People there can help you sign up for a Medicare SNP.

Then, fill out an application form. You can ask the SNP to send you a form. Some SNPs will let you sign up through their web site. Or if you have Medicare and Medicaid, you may be able to sign up at For more help, call 800-MEDICARE.

When to Enroll in an SNP

If you are joining Medicare for the first time: You can sign up during your first Medicare enrollment period. That is usually the month you turn 65 and the 3 months before and after that month.

If you already have Medicare: You can join during the next open enrollment period.

If you develop a severe disability and enter a nursing home: You can join at any time.

What Else You Should Know

Your SNP will have a network of providers. You may have to pick a primary care doctor.  And most of the time you will have to use doctors, hospitals, and other providers in the network. Emergencies are an exception.

If you aren't happy with your SNP plan, you may switch to original Medicare at any time. During the annual open enrollment, you can choose another Medicare Advantage or SNP plan.

If you move out of the area that your SNP serves, you can switch plans or go back to original Medicare.

If you are no longer eligible for SNP coverage, you can join another Medicare plan or go back to original Medicare.

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