Medicare Savings Programs

There are four federally funded Medicare Savings Programs administered by each state. People with low incomes and limited resources may qualify for these programs, which can help pay Medicare premiums, deductibles, coinsurance and copayments.

Medicare Savings Programs help low-income people afford some of Medicare’s out-of-pocket costs, including Medicare Part A and Part B premiums, deductibles, copayments and coinsurance.

The four Medicare Savings Programs are:
  • Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) Program
  • Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) Program
  • Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals (QDWI) Program
  • Qualifying Individual (QI) Program

Who Qualifies for Medicare Savings Programs?

Each Medicare Savings Program has its own eligibility requirements, which can vary by state.

All programs require you to:
  • Live in the United States
  • Be 65 years or older
  • Receive Social Security disability benefits or meet certain income and resource requirements.

If you qualify for a Medicare Savings Program, you automatically qualify for the Extra Help prescription drug program to limit out-of-pocket medication costs.

To apply to a Medicare Savings Program, visit the Medicare website for a list of contact information.

After you apply, you should receive a decision within 45 days of the date of your application.

Tip
You can contact your state’s Medicare program to see if you qualify for savings programs.

Resource Limits for Medicare Savings Programs

Typically, your assets and resources must be limited to qualify for a Medicare Savings Program.

Medicare considers stocks, bonds, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and money in your checking or savings account as part of your total resources.

However, other assets do not count toward this total.

What isn’t included in your total resource limit:
  • Your home
  • One car
  • Burial plot and up to $1,500 for burial expenses
  • Furniture, household goods and personal items

There are a few important exceptions to keep in mind.

Special Rules and Exceptions
  1. If you live in Alaska or Hawaii, income and resource limits are slightly higher.
  2. If you’re still working, you may qualify for certain programs — even if you earn more money than the limits listed.
  3. Income and resource limits can vary by state.
  4. Some states may choose to eliminate resource limits all together.

Qualified Medicare Beneficiary Program

Under the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) program, Medicare providers won’t charge you for any Medicare-covered services or items.

You also automatically qualify for the Extra Help prescription drug program.

The QMB program pays for:
  • Part A premiums
  • Part B premiums
  • Deductibles, coinsurance and copayments
QMB Income and Resources Limits for 2020
Individual Monthly Income Limit
$1,084
Married Couple Monthly Income Limit
$1,457
Individual Resource Limit
$7,860
Married Couple Resource Limit
$11,800

Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary Program

If you earn a little too much to qualify for the QMB program, you may meet the income and resource criteria for the Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) program.

This program helps cover Part B premiums. You also automatically qualify for the Extra Help program.

SLMB Income and Resources Limits for 2020
Individual Monthly Income Limit
$1,296
Married Couple Monthly Income Limit
$1,744
Individual Resource Limit
$7,860
Married Couple Resource Limit
$11,800

Qualifying Individual Program

The Qualifying Individual (QI) program helps cover Part B premiums for those who don’t qualify for Medicaid. It also automatically qualifies you for the Extra Help prescription drug program.

You must apply every year for QI benefits. Acceptance is granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

QI Income and Resources Limits for 2020
Individual Monthly Income Limit
$1,456
Married Couple Monthly Income Limit
$1,960
Individual Resource Limit
$7,860
Married Couple Resource Limit
$11,800

Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals Program

Disabled people under age 65 who recently returned to work and are no longer eligible for premium-free Part A Medicare coverage may qualify for the Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals (QDWI) program.

Unlike other savings programs, QDWI only covers Medicare Part A premiums.

QDWI Income and Resources Limits for 2020
Individual Monthly Income Limit
$4,339
Married Couple Monthly Income Limit
$5,833
Individual Resource Limit
$4,000
Married Couple Resource Limit
$6,000
Last Modified: May 14, 2020

3 Cited Research Articles

  1. Florida Legal Services. (2019, November 14). Medicare Savings Plans. Retrieved from https://www.floridalawhelp.org/content/medicare-savings-plans
  2. National Council on Aging. (n.d.). Medicare and Medicare Savings Programs. Retrieved from https://www.ncoa.org/economic-security/benefits/medicare-and-medicaid/medicaid-msps/
  3. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Medicare Savings Programs. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/your-medicare-costs/get-help-paying-costs/medicare-savings-programs