Help Available For Older Adults Who Need It The Most

Dual-Eligible Special Needs Plans are available to help people who qualify for Medicare and Medicaid

Most Floridians have experienced the pinch over the last few years of higher housing costs, electric bills, and price tags at the grocery store. No group has experienced as much of a financial burden than older adults on fixed incomes.

According to U.S. Census data from 2022, a growing number of Americans over age 65 are now experiencing poverty. The poverty rate for adults over 65 grew from 8.9% in 2020 to 10.3% in 2021. The latest Census data from 2023 shows this trend is holding steady, with 10.2% of the over-65 population now living in poverty. For a single adult, that translates to surviving off just around $14,000 per year. In total, about 6 million U.S. seniors are living under the poverty level. In Florida, between 10 and 11.4 percent of adults over 65 are living in poverty according to Census data.

For older adults living on tight budgets, including those who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid, enrolling in a Medicare Dual-Eligible Special Needs Plan (DSNP) can be a great choice to save money and get extra benefits to manage their health and more. DSNP plans typically offer more benefits than Medicaid or Original Medicare (which includes Part A and Part B) alone, including extra support for things like transportation and food. And many DSNP plans offer $0 premiums and $0 copays for doctor’s visits and more.

DSNP plans are Medicare Advantage plans offered by private insurance companies that have a contract with the federal government, like Florida Blue Medicare. Plan coverage varies, depending on where you live and what plan you choose.

If you qualify for Medicaid and Medicare, a DSNP plan can help you coordinate all your benefits. Many DSNP plans include a personalized team of experts to help you get the most out of your benefits and get connected to resources that can help.

“At Florida Blue Medicare, our DSNP member have a team dedicated to them, including a nurse manager to help them manage their care and medications and take care of themselves after a hospital stay, so they don’t end up being readmitted to the hospital,” said Dr. Thomas Graf, chief medical officer for Florida Blue Medicare. “Their team also includes a community specialist to help them make appointments and get transportation, as well as a social worker to connect them to important community resources, like help with housing or paying for utilities. It’s hard for people to take care of their health when they are worried about surviving and making ends meet.”

DSNP plans are also available to Medicaid-eligible adults who are under 65 but qualify for Medicare because of a disability or health condition.

Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period lasts from October 15 to December 7. So, if you qualify for Medicare and Medicaid, now is a great time to look into switching to a DSNP plan. Get the most out of Medicare and Medicaid coverage. Talk to your agent about whether a DSNP plan is right for you.

“Also, you can always visit a Florida Blue Center to ask any questions you have,” Graf said. “Our Florida Blue centers are great resources help and support for both members and everyone in the community.”

Florida Blue Centers are available to everyone. People can stop in a local, neighborhood center. To find one close to you, call 1-877-352-5830 or visit