The expansion of a provider-owned Medicare Advantage plan partnership means that residents of Utah’s assisted living communities for the first time will have access to special needs plans.

American Health Advantage of Utah on Wednesday announced a partnership with Mission Health Services, Cascades Healthcare and Sunshine Terrace Foundation to, for the first time, provide assisted living residents access to institutional-equivalent special needs plan, or IE-SNP, benefits.

Such plans deliver a coordinated care model meant to address all needed medical treatment and preventive services.

In January 2022, American Health Advantage of Utah will expand its institutional special needs plan to include an IE-SNP in four additional assisted living communities in Utah. These plans specifically cater to Medicare beneficiaries who live in assisted living communities and qualify for certain levels of healthcare services, as well as to Medicare recipients in skilled nursing facilities. 

“There is no other IE-SNP in Utah, so it’s gratifying to be on the forefront in providing a new model designed to improve care for residents, both in skilled nursing facilities and assisted living settings,” American Health Advantage of Utah Executive Director Tracy Altman said in a statement. “The IE-SNP model of care enhances medical services at the point of care, improves health outcomes, generates a reliable, shared revenue stream, and helps reduce wasteful healthcare spending.”

American Health Plans, a division of Franklin, TN-based American Health Partners, already has partnership agreements with long-term care providers in Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Utah, Texas and Tennessee.

Earlier this year, the Medica Advantage Solution – PartnerCare plan from nonprofit health plan Medica and geriatric medical practice and care management organization Genevive announced that 10 additional senior living and care facilities had joined its institutional special needs plan, or I-SNP. They joined 11 existing providers in the plan, most of which were announced in 2019 for the inaugural 2020 plan year.

Among other Medicare Advantage plan special needs plan partnerships that have formed in recent years are Toledo-OH-based real estate investment trust Welltower’s collaboration with CareMore and Bloomfield, NJ-based Juniper Communities‘ partnership with AllyAlign Health. AllyAlign Health recently announced a partnership with LeadingAge California to offer Medicare Advantage special needs plans to cover long-term care residents across the continuum of care in the Golden State.