If you are a Medicare beneficiary with a low income you may qualify for programs that will lower your costs for healthcare. Unfortunately, many more people qualify for these programs than know that these programs exist.
The State of Connecticut has a program that pays for many of our clients’ Medicare Part B premiums and/or lowers their cost for their private Medicare health plan. This program is called the Medicare Savings Plan or “MSP” for short.
This is a government-based program it is not an insurance product, but we have helped many of our clients enroll in this program and would be happy to help you. We do not charge a fee for this service.
Medicare beneficiaries that qualify for this program may qualify for a Medicare health plan that is not available to the general public. They are also able to switch health plans in the middle of the year. Most people can only switch plans during the Annual Election Period (Open Enrollment Period) which occurs from October 15th through December 7th of each year.
This program is administered by the Department of Social Services. This is the same department that administers the state’s Medicaid program (HUSKY).
There are two important differences between the MSP program and the Medicaid program. Your assets will not keep you from qualifying. The State will not reduce the money your children or other heirs can receive when you pass away based on your enrollment in the MSP program.
There are three tiers for this program. Which level you qualify for depends on your income.
The 2016 monthly income limits for this program are:
Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries
Those who qualify for the first tier are called Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries or QMBs for short. When agents talk to each other we often refer to people at this level as “Quimbies.” The monthly income limit for this level is $2,088.90 for a single person and $2,816.85 for a couple.
If you qualify for the QMB or “Quimby” level, you will no longer have to pay your Medicare Part B premium. This premium is approximately $125 each month. You may not know that you are paying for this, because it probably is deducted from your Social Security check.
The state may pay a portion of your private health insurance premium or your prescription drug plan. You may also qualify for a plan or plans with enhanced benefits that other Medicare beneficiaries do not.
Special Low Income Medicare Beneficiaries
Those who qualify for the second tier are referred to as Special Low Income Medicare Beneficiaries or SLMBs for short. Agents often refer to those on this level as “Slimbies” The monthly income limit for this level is $2,088.90 for a single person and $2,816.85 for a couple.
The benefits are lower for this tier, but still worth enrolling in my opinion. The State of Connecticut will pay the full Medicare Part B premiums for “Slimbies.” This will amount to a savings of over $1,400 per year. If you qualify for this program your costs for your prescription coverage can be reduced, but the reduction will be less than if you qualified as a QMB.
Additional Low Income Medicare Beneficiaries
Those who qualify for the third tier are called Additional Low Income Medicare Beneficiaries or ALMBs for short. The monthly income limit for this level is $2,435.40 for a single person and $3,284.10 for a couple.
The benefits are even lower for this tier, but still worth enrolling in my opinion. The State of Connecticut will pay the full Medicare Part B premiums for ALMBs This alone will save you over $1,400 per year. If you qualify for this program your costs for your prescription coverage can be reduced, but the reduction will be less than if you qualified as a SLMB.
This program can make a difference in the quality of life for Medicare beneficiaries with low incomes.