Special Coverage Plans That Offer Perks for Recipients

Managing everyday expenses can be challenging, but there are various benefits available to help make it easier. Dual-eligible Special Needs Plans (DSNPs) are an important benefit for people who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. These plans are intended to offer complete healthcare coverage together with extra benefits that can assist with day-to-day expenses. DSNPs can ease financial burdens by assisting with rent, utilities, transportation, healthy food, over-the-counter items, and personal care products, simplifying healthcare for those in need.

Different Perks are Available to Help with Everyday Expenses

Before we dive into what DSNP is, let’s first clarify what it means to be dual-eligible. You may qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid if you meet certain income and resource requirements. Medicare is a federal health insurance program primarily for people aged 65 and older, while Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that provides health coverage to low-income individuals and families. Being dual-eligible means you can receive benefits from both programs, but coordinating these benefits can be tricky. That’s where DSNPs come in.

What is DSNP?

A particular kind of Medicare Advantage plan called the Dual-eligible Special Needs Plan (DSNP) is intended for people who qualify for both Medicaid and Medicare. DSNPs are offered by private insurance companies that contract with Medicare and coordinate with state Medicaid programs to provide a seamless healthcare experience for dual-eligible beneficiaries.

The primary goal of a DSNP is to integrate Medicare and Medicaid benefits, offering a single plan that covers all of your healthcare needs. This can include hospital stays, doctor visits, prescription drugs, and even additional benefits like dental, vision, and hearing services.

Benefits of Enrolling in a DSNP

Now that we’ve answered the question “what is DSNP,” let’s explore the advantages of enrolling in one of these plans. One of the first perks is help with everyday expenses: There are a bunch of different perks that recipients can come across. It’s not going to be the same all the time, it varies! Some companies have plans that could provide an extra benefits card. This card can be used towards:

  • Rent or mortgage assistance
  • Certain utilities
  • Gas or transportation
  • Healthy food
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) items
  • Personal care items

Besides the perk of getting everyday expenses covered, other benefits include:

  • Lower out-of-pocket costs: Because DSNPs work with both Medicare and Medicaid, they can help lower your out-of-pocket expenses. In some cases, you may have zero or minimal copayments for doctor visits, hospital stays, and prescription drugs.
  • Simplified healthcare coverage: With a DSNP, you’ll have one plan, one insurance card, and one point of contact for all your healthcare needs. This can greatly reduce the confusion and hassle of managing multiple plans and providers.
  • Tailored benefits: DSNPs are designed specifically for dual-eligible individuals, so they often include benefits and services that cater to this population’s unique needs, such as care coordination, transportation to medical appointments, and home health care.

How Much Can You Get?

One of the biggest attractions to this type of plan is the Medicare Allowance Card. However, the big question is, “Is it worth it?”. That answer depends on the person asking it. There are some average preloaded amounts that people can expect to see. For example, some insurers offer an average of $275 per month! These funds can go towards needs like groceries, which can be a huge help.

Eligibility for DSNPs

To be eligible for a DSNP, you must first qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. This typically means you are:

  • Age 65 or older, or under 65 with a qualifying disability
  • Eligible for both Medicare Part A and Part B
  • Eligible for full Medicaid benefits in your state

It’s important to note that eligibility requirements for Medicaid vary by state, so be sure to check with your local Medicaid office to determine if you qualify.

Enrolling in a DSNP

If you’re interested in enrolling in a DSNP, you can do so during specific enrollment periods:

  • Initial Enrollment Period: When you first become eligible for Medicare
  • Annual Election Period: October 15 – December 7 each year
  • Special Election Period: If you qualify for a special circumstance, such as moving out of your plan’s service area or losing Medicaid eligibility

If you are ever unsure on whether or not you can enroll, you can always ask the plan provider for details!


In conclusion, managing everyday expenses can be easier with the help of Dual-eligible Special Needs Plans (DSNPs). These plans are a valuable resource for those who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. DSNPs offer comprehensive healthcare coverage along with additional perks that assist with daily costs. From rent or mortgage assistance to utilities, transportation, healthy food, over-the-counter items, and personal care products, DSNPs provide significant support. They simplify healthcare management and help reduce financial burdens. If you are dual-eligible, exploring DSNPs can be a great way to manage your healthcare and everyday expenses more effectively.