Medicare beneficiaries with limited income and resources may be able to enroll in a Medicare Savings Program (MSP) to help offset the cost of some of Medicare’s out-of-pocket expenses. These programs are designed for individuals and married couples who qualify for Medicare, many of whom may also qualify for Medicaid.
One of these Medicare Savings Programs is called SLMB, or Specified Low-income Medicare Beneficiary, which we’ll review below.
SLMB benefits cover the cost of the monthly Medicare Part B premium. The standard Part B premium in 2021 is $148.50 per month and is required of all Medicare Part B beneficiaries.
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If a Medicare beneficiary also qualifies for full Medicaid benefits, they may enroll in SLMB+ (or “SLMB Plus”). SLMB+ pays for both the Medicare Part B premium and all Medicaid covered services.
Qualifying for SLMB also makes you eligible for the Medicare Part D Extra Help program, which helps pay for Medicare Part D drug costs such as premiums, copayments and coverage gaps.
Each state Medicaid program has its own rules concerning qualification.
One standard model used for SLMB eligibility is if you have countable assets at or below two times the standard allowed by the Supplemental Social Security program and an annual income of no more than 120% of the Federal Poverty Level.
For 2021, that breaks down to:
The income and asset limits may change each year. According to Medicare.gov, you should still apply for SLMB benefits if your income and resources are slightly higher than what’s listed above.
Countable assets do not include:
SLMB is just one of the available Medicare Savings Programs. Others include:
Contact your state Medicaid program for information and assistance with applying for the SLMB program.
Individuals who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid are considered “dual eligible” and may qualify for a certain type of Medicare Advantage plan called a Special Needs Plan. And one particular type of Special Needs Plan is a Dual Eligible Special Needs Plan (D-SNP).
These plans are designed to meet the specific needs of those with limited income and resources.
Dual-eligible Special Needs Plans and other Medicare Advantage plans are sold by private insurance companies. For help comparing plans, you can look at plans online or call to speak with a licensed insurance agent for information about eligibility and enrollment.
Speak with a licensed insurance agent
Christian Worstell is a licensed insurance agent and a Senior Staff Writer for MedicareAdvantage.com. He is passionate about helping people navigate the complexities of Medicare and understand their coverage options.
His work has been featured in outlets such as Vox, MSN, and The Washington Post, and he is a frequent contributor to health care and finance blogs.
Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He currently lives in Raleigh, NC.
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