Is A Dual Special Needs Plan (D-SNP) Right For You?

If you're eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, these plans offer cost-saving benefits that help make your life easier.

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What Is A Dual Special Needs Plan (D-SNP)?


A Dual Special Needs Plan is a type of Medicare Advantage (Part C) Plan designed for people who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.

Types Of D-SNPs


A D-SNP offers convenient coverage that can make your healthcare more affordable. They typically cover all your medical costs and more – with low monthly premiums and $0 copays.


There are two different types of D-SNPs offered:


Full Dual Eligible


Full dual eligible means you receive full Medicaid benefits from your state's program. Your Medicare Part A and B premiums and nearly all of your out-of-pocket costs may be paid based on your state program.


Partial Dual Eligible


Partial dual eligible means you qualify for Medicaid but based on your income, you don't receive full medical benefits. Depending on your state, you may have to pay some out-of-pocket costs for premiums and medical care.


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What Are The Benefits Of A D-SNP?


D-SNPs offer broad coverage that combines Original Medicare Part A (hospital) and Part B (medical) with complete benefits like these, all in one plan: 

Prepaid Card

Over-the-counter items, groceries, and utilities

$0  Premiums

Most plans have $0 monthly premiums

$0  Copays

$0 prescription drug copays

Dental, Vision, and Hearing

Routine exams, plus allowances for eyewear and hearing aids


Rides for plan-approved services

Gym Membership

Stay in shape with free access to SilverSneakers® gym membership

Smart Tip: Your D-SNP lets you keep all your Medicaid benefits. The plan coordinates your coverage between Medicare and Medicaid, so all your benefits are easier to access.

When To Enroll In A D-SNP Plan

You Don't Have to Wait


Once you've signed up for Original Medicare, you can enroll in a Dual Special Needs Plan anytime if you have Medicaid or become eligible for Medicaid. 


If you already have a D-SNP, you can switch your plan once per quarter from January 1 through September 30, and during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period from October 15 through December 7 each year.


Explore Empire Dual Special Needs Plans  

Other Special Needs Plans (SNPs)


A D-SNP is just one type of special needs Medicare Advantage plan. There are other SNP plans that may be a better fit for you.



Chronic Condition Special Needs Plan




These plans are designed for those who are eligible for Medicare and have a chronic or disabling condition like diabetes, heart conditions, lung disease, or kidney disease.


A C-SNP Medicare Advantage plan can offer access to providers who specialize in chronic conditions, plus provide better coverage for the prescription drugs used to treat them.


C-SNPs also have a dedicated care management team that helps members coordinate care and access providers who specialize in their condition.






Institutional Special Needs Plan




These Medicare Advantage plans are for Medicare-eligible individuals who need care for 90 days or more from:



  A skilled nursing facility


  An intermediate care facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities


  An inpatient psychiatric facility


  A senior living community


Note: Anthem offers I-SNPs only in California, Connecticut, Nevada, and Virginia.

If you don't qualify for any special needs plans, you may want to consider other Medicare Advantage plan options.

Learn Medicare Basics


Medicare doesn't have to be difficult. Our free Medicare articles help make things easier to understand.

Frequently Asked Questions About D-SNPs

If you have both Medicare and Medicaid, you may be eligible for a full or partial D-SNP depending on your income and other factors. 

If you qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid, a D-SNP is probably your best choice. Most plans come with $0 premiums and $0 copays and provide other benefits like these:


  • Dedicated care management
  • Prescription drug coverage
  • Depending on your plan, additional coverage for acupuncture, podiatry services, a free Personal Emergency Response System, allowances for groceries, over-the-counter health items, utilities, and more.

If you have Medicaid, you should always look at your D-SNP options first before you explore other plans. With $0 premiums and $0 copays, plus help with supplemental health and living expenses, a D-SNP could be your lowest-cost option. Also, depending on your state's Medicaid program, if you're receiving full Medicaid benefits, your true annual out-of-pocket healthcare costs could be close to $0.

No, not at all. A D-SNP lets you keep all your Medicaid benefits and coordinates them with your Medicare coverage. That way you can access all your benefits more easily.

Need Help Or Ready To Shop?

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Empire BlueCross BlueShield is a Medicare Advantage plan with a Medicare contract. Empire BlueCross BlueShield is a SNP plan with a Medicare contract and a contract with the state Medicaid program. Enrollment in Empire BlueCross BlueShield depends on contract renewal.