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3 Medicare Savings Programs For Montanans

Are you looking for ways to save money on your Medicare plan? No matter where you live in Montana, you may qualify for a Medicare Savings Program that would help you reduce your health insurance costs.

In this article we cover:

Before we dive into the 3 ways you can save money on Medicare, let’s first look at the basics of Medicare Savings Programs.

What are Medicare Savings Programs?

Medicare Savings Programs are federally funded programs administered by the state of Montana. These programs help cover Medicare costs such as:

  • Premiums
  • Deductibles
  • Copays
  • Coinsurance 

In some instances, an MSP may also help pay for Medicare Part A and Part B if you meet certain conditions.

You may qualify for a Medicare Savings Program if you have limited income and resources. These programs are particularly advantageous for seniors and younger adults with disabilities who may not qualify for full Medicaid.

Now let’s dive into the 3 main Medicare Savings Programs!

Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) Program

QMB is an MSP that pays for the Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) premium and the Medicare Part B (medical insurance) premium. The QMB program also helps cover Medicare expenses, such as deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments. 

Medicare providers cannot bill beneficiaries who participate in QMB for services covered by Medicare. If you participate in the program, it’s important to notify your care providers.

QMB income limits change each year. 

2021 QMB Income Limits (accordion) 

  • Individual monthly income limit = $1,094
  • Married couple monthly income limit = $1,472
  • Individual resource limit = $7,970
  • Married couple resource limit = $11,960

Visit the Medicare.gov Medicare Savings Program website to see the most current QMB income limits.

You can find out if you qualify and complete a QMB application via the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services website.

Have you recently lost your Medicaid eligibility?

Learn what steps you can take.

Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary Program

If you earn a little over the limit for QMB, you may still qualify for the SLMB Program. 

SLMB helps pay for Medicare Part B premiums. While this program does allow for a higher income, it does not pay other cost-sharing expenses or Medicare Part A premiums. 

To qualify for SLMB, you must first qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A. Then your income must not exceed a certain limit. These limits change each year. 

2021 SLMB Income Limits (accordion)

  • Individual monthly income limit = $1,308
  • Married couple monthly income limit = $1,762
  • Individual resource limit = $7,970
  • Married couple resource limit = $11,960

You can find this year’s SLMB income limits on the Medicare.gov website. To apply for the SLMB program visit the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services website

Qualifying Individual Program

Is your income above the limits of both the QMB and SLMB Programs? You may still have an opportunity to save!

The Qualified Individual program also helps cover Medicare Part B premiums. Unlike QMB or SLMB, this program is awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you qualify for Medicaid, you cannot receive QI benefits.

Additionally, you must apply for QI benefits each year.

2021 QI Income Limits (accordion)

  • Individual monthly income limit = $1,469
  • Married couple monthly income limit = $1,980
  • Individual resource limit = $7,970
  • Married couple resource limit = $11,960

Find the current QI income limits by visiting www.medicare.gov/your-medicare-costs/get-help-paying-costs/medicare-savings-programs.

Find out if you qualify for the QI program and to learn how to enroll on the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services website.

Concerned about your prescription drug costs?

Find out what prescription expenses you may not be expecting.

Frequently asked questions about Montana’s Medicare Savings Programs

 

What resources count towards my income and resource limits?

Countable resources include money in your checking or savings accounts, stocks, and bonds. Your home, car, burial plot, up to $1,500 for burial expenses (if you put that money aside), and your furniture and household items do not count against your resource limits. 

If you have more than one car, every additional car will count towards your resource limits.

Do I have to apply for Medicare Savings Programs each year?

If you are enrolled in QMB or SLMB benefits and your income has not increased to be above the income limits, then you do not have to reapply each year.

For the QI program, you must reapply each year.

What about savings programs for prescription drug costs?

Extra Help is a program that helps you pay for prescription drug coverage through Medicare. There are different levels of Extra Help, which can help you pay for coinsurance, deductibles, and premiums for prescription drug costs.

If you qualify for QMB, SLMB, or QI then you automatically qualify for Extra Help

Learn more about the program, see if you qualify, and apply online by visiting the Social Security website.

Get Help Saving Money on Medicare Costs

Concerned you’re paying too much for your Medicare coverage? We can help you explore the variety of programs available to help Montana residents pay for their Medicare expenses.

Even if you have income that exceeds the limits for the Medicare Savings Programs above, there may be different coverage options available to you that would reduce your out-of-pocket expenses.

 

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