Medicare Savings Programs

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Assistance with Meeting the Costs of Medicare Premiums and Deductibles


The Qualified Medicare Beneficiary program (QMB), Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary program (SLMB), and Qualified Individual program (QI), help Medicare beneficiaries of modest means pay all or some of Medicare’s cost sharing amounts (ie. premiums, deductibles and copayments). To qualify an individual must be eligible for Medicare and must meet certain income guidelines which change annually. The income guidelines change April 1 each year.


QMB (Qualified Medicare Beneficiary Program)


The QMB program provides the following benefits:

Note: Medigap premiums are not covered by QMB, SLMB, or QI.


Eligibility criteria for this program require that:

Note: Individuals who are eligible for Medicare Part A but not enrolled, may conditionally enroll in Medicare Part A at any time during the year and then apply for QMB to cover the cost of the Medicare Part A premium which must otherwise be paid by voluntary enrollees (those not automatically eligible for Medicare Part A through Social Security or Railroad Retirement entitlement).


If an individual is eligible for this program, purchasing additional Medigap coverage for Medicare premiums, deductibles, and/or co-payments may be unnecessary. To determine whether or not to retain a Medigap policy, a review of the benefits covered by the Medigap policy must be made to see if the Medigap plan covers services other than the Medicare cost-sharing that may be useful to the person.


QMB Provider Certification for Title 19


The QMB program will pay the 20% Medicare Part B co-insurance only if the provider of services is certified as a Medicaid provider.


Note, however, a provider may choose to treat only QMB patients and not all Medicaid recipients and only the QMB patients he chooses to see. Providers have no obligation to treat Medicaid patients or anyone in particular.


Physicians and other Part B providers may become Medicaid certified by calling the State Medicaid contractor, EDS, at (860) 832-9259. EDS will send a provider enrollment package. The provider only has to fill out a form in order to become Medicaid certified. DSS also has a Medicaid provider relations department.


SLMB (Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary Program)


The SLMB program provides the following benefits:

Eligibility criteria for this program require that:

QI (Qualified Individual Program) - Limited Expansion of SLMB


The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 expanded the SLMB program for certain "qualified individuals" by increasing the income guidelines, but Congress only appropriated a limited amount of funds to each state to pay for this expansion. Once a state’s appropriated money is gone, even eligible individuals will not be able to get into the program.

Obtaining QMB, SLMB, and QI Benefits


Requests for applications for QMB, SLMB, or QI benefits are made to the state Department of Social Services (DSS) office serving the town of residence and may be conducted over the telephone. Eligibility for QMB is effective on the first day of the month following the month in which DSS has all the information and verification necessary to determine eligibility. This should not take more than 45 days. SLMB entitlement may be retroactive up to three months prior to the date of application if the person is otherwise eligible.


Remember income levels change April 1st each year.


For more information, please telephone your district DSS office.


* To this amount, add $20/month ($240 annually) to represent the federally-allowed income disregard but check with your state to determine if your state allows a higher amount to be disregarded.  Residents of Connecticut can add $227/month ($2,724 annually).  Check each April for changes to this amount.

Copyright 2010 Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc.