On July 13, the House Ways and Means Committee approved H.R. 3168, the Special Needs Plan (SNP) Reauthorization Act of 2017. SNPs are Medicare Advantage plans that exclusively enroll beneficiaries with special needs. There are SNPs for dual-eligible beneficiaries (D-SNPs), institutionalized beneficiaries (I-SNPs) and beneficiaries with certain chronic conditions (C-SNPs), including C-SNPs for ESRD patients. The bill would permanently reauthorize I-SNPs and reauthorize D-SNPs and C-SNPs for five years. SNP reauthorization is set to expire at the end of 2018.

The bill is now being considered in the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The Health Subcommittee held a hearing on July 26 to hear from an expert panel on the need for SNP reauthorization. As of this writing, it remains to be seen if the Energy and Commerce Committee will amend the bill to permanently reauthorize all SNPs. Earlier this year the Senate Finance Committee approved a chronic care bill (S. 870) that includes a provision to make all three types of SNPs permanent.

Another option that Congress may pursue this year is to include SNP reauthorization to the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program and other Medicare extenders.

C-SNPs for ESRD provide another coverage option for patients that may better suit their needs.