Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) and Qualified Individuals (QI) programs

What are Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) and Qualified Individuals (QI) programs?

The Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) and Qualified Individuals (QI) programs are Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs) that are administered by Medicaid in each state. SLMB and QI pay for an enrollee’s Medicare Part B premiums.

As of 2020, most enrollees pay $144.90 a month for Part B. SLMB and QI enrollees no longer have this amount deducted from their Social Security benefit – amounting to an annual income increase of over $1,738.

Unlike the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) program, SLMB and QI do not pay for Parts A and B cost sharing (e.g. deductibles, co-pays and coinsurance). These programs also do not pay for Medicare Part A premiums if an enrollee owes them.

QI benefits had been based on discrete funding allotments in each state, and enrollees who applied after this funding was allocated were unable to receive benefits. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 changed this by authorizing federal funding for QI on a permanent basis.

SLMB and QI enrollees are automatically enrolled in Extra Help – a federal program that lowers prescription drug costs under Part D.

It can take two to three months between an enrollee’s approval for MSP benefits and the time Part B premiums are no longer deducted from their Social Security income. Enrollees usually receive a one-time deposit for the premiums withheld after their benefits had been approved.

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