If you are unable to afford Medicare there are benefits such as the Medicare Savings Programs (MSP) that could help. Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs) are Medicaid-administered benefits that help cover Medicare premiums and out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles and coinsurance. These programs are available for those on Medicare with limited incomes and resources who do not qualify to be fully enrolled in Medicaid.

How to get help with Part A & B costs?

Qualified participants need to meet certain income and resource levels and have Medicare Part A to qualify. If requirements are met, Medicare and state Medicaid programs work together to provide assistance through the Medicare Savings Programs.

There are four different Medicare Savings Programs. Each program has a different income and resource eligibility limit. Even if not eligible for Medicaid, qualification can be met for one of these programs to help cover Medicare costs.

Medicare Savings Programs

The programs are listed below, along with what each program pays for and the income and resource level limits that must be met to qualify. Some states may have even higher income or resource limits for these programs or they may eliminate resource limits entirely.

  Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB)  Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) Qualified Individual (QI) Qualified Disabled and Working Individual (QDWI)
What it covers Medicare premiums (Part A, if applicable, and Part B), deductibles, copayments, and/or coinsurance Medicare Part B premium Medicare Part B premium Medicare Part A premiums (for people with Medicare who are under age 65, disabled, and no longer qualify for free Medicare Part A only because they returned to work)
You may qualify if your monthly income is less than:

$1,084 if single

$1,457 if married

$1,296 if single

$1,744 if married

$1,456 if single

$1,960 if married

$4,339 if single

$5,833 if married

You can own up to this amount of resources and still qualify: 

$7,860 if single

$11,800 if married

$7,860 if single

$11,800 if married

$7,860 if single

$11,800 if married

$4,000 if single

$6,000 if married

Get help with Part D Prescription Drug Costs

Get help paying for Medicare drug costs with a program called Extra Help (also called Part D low-income subsidy or LIS). Extra Help is a Federal program that helps people with limited income and resources pay for their Part D premiums and drug costs.

Most people who qualify for Extra Help will pay:

  • No premiums
  • No deductibles, and
  • No more than $9.20 in 2021 for each drug their plan covers.

The amount of Extra Help received depends on income and resources. If qualified for Extra Help, it possible to join a Medicare Part D plan at any time and not have to pay a penalty, even if enrollment is late.

Plus, people who receive Extra Help can change Part D plans at any time – as often as once per month. Learn about switching plans.

Qualifying for Extra Help with Medicare Costs

There are different levels of Extra Help available, depending on income and assets. People with a lower income and fewer assets get more help with their Medicare drug plan costs.

If you have Medicare and have limited income and resources, you may be able to get Extra Help paying for your prescription drug costs if:

  • Your income is less than $19,380 if single and $26,100 if married. If you live in Alaska or Hawaii, you may still get help even if your income is higher than these limits.
  • You have resources less than $14,610 if single and $29,160 if married.

You may not qualify for Extra Help with costs if your income or assets are over these limits. Remember you can apply for help even if you are slightly over the limit you need to qualify.

If you think you qualify for Extra Help, take the visit BenefitsCheckUp to find all of your options. It is free and confidential.