What are Medicare Savings Programs?
Medicare Savings Programs may help pay your Medicare and Medicare Advantage premiums. Depending on your income and resources, a Medicare Savings Program may also pay hospital and medical insurance deductibles, copayments and coinsurance.
There are four types of Medicare Savings Programs:
Qualified Medicare Beneficiary Program (QMB)
The QMB is the most comprehensive of the four Medicare Savings Programs. The QMB program may pay for Part A and Part B premiums as well as deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments. To be sure your provider knows you have QMB, show them both your Medicare and QMB (or Medicaid) card each time you visit.
When you have QMB status, Medicare providers are not allowed to bill you for services and items Medicare covers, including deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments, except outpatient prescription drugs. Pharmacists may charge according to your level of Extra Help Eligibility for prescriptions purchased through Medicare Part D.
To make sure your provider knows you are in the QMB program, show both your Medicare and Medicaid or QMB card each time you get care. If you get a bill for medical care Medicare covers, call your provider or plan about the charges. Tell them that you are in the QMB program and cannot be charged for Medicare deductibles, coinsurance and copayments.
Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary Program (SLMB)
The SLMB program pays Part B premiums only.
Qualifying Individual Program (QI)
Like the SLMB program, the QI program is for Part B premiums only. You must apply every year for QI benefits and priority is given to people who got QI benefits the previous year.
If you qualify for the QMB program, SLMB, or QI program, you automatically qualify to get Extra Help paying for Medicare prescription drug coverage.
Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals Program (QDWI)
The QDWI program helps subsidize the Medicare Part A premium only. You may have to pay a Part A premium with a Medicare Advantage plan if you do not qualify for premium-free Part A. To qualify for QDWI you generally must be a working disabled person under 65 who lost your premium-free Part A when you went back to work. You also cannot be getting medical assistance from your state and you must meet income and resources limits set by your state.
All four programs have different income and resource guidelines that change each year. All this information is available at https://www.medicare.gov/your-medicare-costs/get-help-paying-costs/medicare-savings-programs