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Effective March 1st 2018, you may lose Medicare Savings Program benefits from the State of Connecticut. You might have heard the income limits dropped dramatically. This change hurts 68,000 Connecticut residents. You will see tips and strategies in this email series that may help you reduce the pain if you are one of the 68,000. If you want free one-on-one advice, reply to this email with your questions.


Will You LOSE BENEFITS from the Connecticut QMB or Medicare Savings Program in 2018?

Here is what you should do NOW to reduce or delay the impact of these changes.

If you have a gray card (Qualified Medicare Beneficiary status) but no other medical insurance besides Medicare (and maybe a plan that covers drugs)…

You will pay 20% OR MORE for doctor visits starting March 1st. By acting now, you can make sure you only pay a $0 or a small copay for doctor’s visits when you lose QMB benefits.

Suggestion: Let’s see if a “Dual Special Needs Plan” is a good fit for you NOW while you still have QMB status! You can extend most of your “gray card” benefits for three additional months. These plans have $0 monthly premiums.

If you want my help selecting a plan, call me or request recommendations from me online long before you lose benefits.

Once you have a dSNP plan, you should be able to keep most of the benefits you get from your QMB status until the end of May. Otherwise you will lose them at the end of February.

If you have a gray card (or Qualified Medicare Beneficiary status) and one policy that covers both drugs and doctor visits…

If your current plan is a “Dual Special Needs Plan,” you may not have to act as quickly. You may be able to keep your plan an additional 3 months beyond February 28th and the loss of your QMB status.

However, you will lose your policy soon, so it’s not to early to research other plans.

Suggestion: Make sure your policy is a ” Dual Special Needs Plan” If it has “SNP” as part of the name of the plan, it is. If you are unsure, you can call or email me. I can look it up for you.

If you have a dSNP plan, you should be able to keep most of the benefits you get from your QMB status until the end of May. Otherwise you will lose them at the end of February.

If you want my help selecting a plan, call me or request recommendations from me online long before you lose benefits.

If your current plan is NOT a “Dual Special Needs Plan,” your copays will go up on March 1st when you lose QMB status. Let’s delay that as long as possible.

Suggestion: Let’s see if a “Dual Special Needs Plan” is a good fit for you NOW WHILE YOU STILL HAVE QMB STATUS! You can extend most of your “gray card” benefits for three additional months. These plans have $0 monthly premiums.

If you want my help selecting a plan, call me or request recommendations from me online long before you lose benefits.

Once you have a dSNP plan, you should be able to keep most of the benefit you now get from your QMB status until the end of May. Otherwise you will lose them at the end of February.

If you have any other Medicare Savings Program (MSP) Status and are losing benefits

Let’s see if there are better Medicare insurance plans available to you. You can switch to a better plan now before your status changes, even though the open enrollment period has ended.

If you want my help selecting a plan, call me or request recommendations from me online long before you lose benefits.

If your income is below the guidelines and You Shouldn’t Lose Benefits

Contact the Department of Social Services immediately to let them know they have incorrect information. If you email me or call, I can send you a form to complete.

Unfortunately…

…if your income is above the guidelines, the state will no longer pay your Medicare Part B premium in March. This means your Social Security check will probably be $134 less than you are used to.

If you will lose QMB status, you will pay more for your doctor visits starting in March or June. You can delay this until June if you use the strategy below. You may be able to pay less in copays, if you choose the right policy. Ask me for a recommendation if you want my help.

If you lose MSP status, you won’t lose the drug benefit right away, but you pay more for drugs starting in January of 2019.

What to do

If you currently qualify for QMB status, apply for a Dual Special Needs Policy ASAP unless you already have one. (I can make sure your doctors and drugs are covered by the plan and help you apply if you want my help.)

This will allow you to pay keep most of your benefits for an additional three months.

Switch to the best Medicare plan for your drugs, doctor and other needs when the policy ends. (Reach out to me when you are ready to talk with me and want to see your options.)

About Post Author

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Alston J. Balkcom

“ Connecticut-licensed insurance agent since 1985.”