Q. What are the Medicare Savings Programs (MSP)?
A. The MSP helps to pay your Medicare Part B premiums. We have recently increased the income limits for the Medicare Savings Programs, which have been available for many years. Now more people will be eligible for help paying their Medicare premiums.
Q. What are QMB (Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries), SLMB (Special Low Income Medicare Beneficiaries) and ALMB (Additional Low Income Medicare Beneficiaries)?
A. QMB, SLMB and ALMB are categories within MSP. A household’s income determines which category they qualify for. The new income limit, effective March 1, 2013, are:
QMB - $2,021.38 for a single person and $2,728.23 for a couple
SLMB - $2,212.98 for a single person and $2,986.83 for a couple
ALMB - $2,356.68 for a single person and $3,180.78 for a couple
All three categories pay for Medicare Part B premiums.
Q. Are there any other benefits to MSP?
A. Yes. If you receive both Medicare and MSP, you are also eligible for the Low Income Subsidy (LIS), also called “Extra Help”. With the LIS, you will not have to pay more than $6.30 for your covered prescriptions. The LIS also helps pay for Medicare Part D (prescription coverage) premiums, yearly deductibles and co-insurance or co-pays.
For more information about the LIS go to www.socialsecurity.gov
, call 1-800-Medicare or for TTY call 1-800-325-0778.
QMB also pays for Medicare co-pays and deductibles on Medicare-covered services as long as the medical provider participates in both Medicare and the Connecticut Medical Assistance program.
Some people who are receiving SLMB (Special Low Income Medicare Beneficiary) or ALMB (Additional Low Income Medicare Beneficiary) may now be eligible for additional services under QMB (Qualified Medicare Beneficiary).
If you are eligible for QMB you should receive a CONNECT card from us. This may take a few weeks if you who were eligible for SLMB or ALMB and are now eligible for QMB. The CONNECT card helps pay for Medicare co-pays and deductibles as long as a medical provider participates in Medicare and the Connecticut Medical Assistance Program. Until you receive a card, you can use the letters or granting notices you receive. Show them to the doctor or pharmacy so that they can bill us. We will not send a CONNECT card to you if you already have an EBT card from us. You can use your EBT card right away to help pay for Medicare co-pays and deductibles.
Q. Who can apply for MSP?
A. A person who is eligible for Medicare Part A and who has income below the program limits may be eligible for MSP.
Q. What happens if I don’t have Medicare Part A?
A. Most people are eligible for Medicare Part A when they turn 65 years old. People who are between 18 and 65 can also receive Medicare Part A if they receive Social Security Disability Benefits and have been permanently disabled for at least two years. If you were eligible for Part A but did not take it at enrollment, the State of Connecticut will pay the Part A premium for you if you are eligible for QMB.
Q. What happens if I work? Can I still be eligible for MSP?
A. You may be able to work and be eligible for MSP. We don’t count all your earnings when we look to see if you are eligible. We use a formula that gives you credit for work expenses. Then we count what is left, along with any other income you have, toward the income limit.
Q. Does it cost anything to apply for or receive MSP?
A. No, there is no cost to apply for or receive MSP.
Q. Do I have to pay back any of the benefits that I receive from MSP?
A. We will not recover money for this program for any benefits that you receive after January 1, 2010. However, if you received any benefits under MSP before January 1, 2010, the State can recover money equal to the amount of benefits you received.
Q. How do I apply for MSP?
You need to complete a short application form
for the program. It is only two pages long. You then need to return the application form #W-1QMB “Medicare Savings Programs” to:
DSS ConneCT Scanning Center
PO Box 1320
Manchester, CT 06045-1320
The applications will be logged and sent to the DSS offices in Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport for expedited processing.
Q. Where can I get more information about MSP?
A. You can get more information about MSP by calling CHOICES at 1-800-994-9422.
Q. Will my Medicare benefits change if I enroll in MSP?
A. No, having MSP does not change your Medicare benefits.
Q. Do I have to apply for MSP?
A. You must file an application in order to receive MSP. However, enrollment is purely voluntary. You can also stop MSP at any time.
Q. How long will it take for my application to be approved?
A. It takes forty-five days for the department to process your application. As long as you are eligible, you will receive benefits back to the date that we received your application. However, an individual eligible for QMB (Qualified Medicare Beneficiary) qualifies in the month after the individual is determined to be eligible.
Q. When will my eligibility begin if my application for MSP is approved?
A. The eligibility start date for MSP depends on the program for which an individual is eligible.
An individual eligible for QMB qualifies in the month after the individual is determined to be eligible. This is usually the month after we receive the application.
An individual eligible for SLMB or ALMB may qualify for payment during the three months immediately before the date we receive the application.
Q. How soon will I see an increase in my Social Security Check?
A. It takes approximately three months from the time that you are granted MSP for you to receive the increase in your Social Security check. The Social Security Administration will send you any back months that are due to you. So, for example, if you are granted MSP in June, you should see an increase in your Social Security check no later than September. Social Security will then send you a check to reimburse you for the months of June, July and August.