Medicare Savings Programs: A Profile of State Options

Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs) provide assistance to low-income Medicare beneficiaries to pay for their health care costs. While overseen at the federal level by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the MSPs are administered by each state’s Medicaid office.

States have a number of policy options to maximize access to MSPs for vulnerable older adults and younger adults with disabilities. These include increasing the income eligibility thresholds, increasing the asset limits and/or eliminating asset tests altogether.

Federal income & asset guidelines

The 2016 federal income and asset guidelines for the Medicare Savings Programs are as follows:

Program Monthly Income Guidelines
(includes standard $20 income disregard)
Asset Limits
(does not include $1,500 burial disregard)
Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) $1,010 single/$1,355 couple
Alaska: $1,257/$1,689
Hawaii: $1,160/$1,556
$7,280/$10,930
Specified Low-income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) $1,208 single/$1,622 couple
Alaska: $1,504/$2,022
Hawaii: $1,387/$1,863
$7,280/$10,930
Qualifying Individual (QI) $1,357 single/$1,823 couple
Alaska: $1,690/$2,273
Hawaii: $1,558/$2,094
$7,280/$10,930

States count the burial disregard in differing ways; consult our fact sheet to learn more about how this is applied.

State-specific guidelines

The table below outlines the choices that state Medicaid offices have made to either follow the federal guidelines, or to expand the income and resource criteria, or put no limit onto the amount of resources an applicant has. (Amounts are rounded to the nearest whole dollar.)

State Income Guidelines Asset Limits
Alabama Federal No Limit
Alaska Federal (higher; see chart) Federal
Arizona Federal No limit
Arkansas Federal Federal
California Federal Federal
Colorado Federal Federal
Connecticut QMB: $2,089/$2,817
SLMB: $2,287/$3,084
ALMB (QI): $2,435/$3,284
No limit
Delaware Federal No limit
District of Columbia QMB: $2,990/$4,025 No limit
Florida Federal Federal
Georgia Federal Federal
Hawaii Federal (higher; see chart) Federal
Idaho Federal Federal
Illinois QMB: $1,105/$1,385
SLMB: $1,213/$1,652
QI: $1,362/$1,853
Federal
Indiana QMB: $1,505/$2,023
SLMB: $1,703/$2,290
QI: $1,852/$2,490
Federal
Iowa Federal Federal
Kansas Federal Federal
Kentucky Federal Federal
Louisiana Federal Federal
Maine QMB: $1,461/$1,969
SLMB: $1,659/$2,236
QI: $1,808/$2,436
$58,000/$87,000
Liquid assets only
Maryland Federal Federal
Massachusetts Federal Federal
Michigan Federal Federal
Minnesota Federal $10,000/$18,000
Mississippi QMB: $1,040/$1,385
SLMB: $1,238/$1,652
QI: $1,387/$1,853
No limit
Missouri Federal Federal
Montana Federal Federal
Nebraska Federal Federal
Nevada Federal Federal
New Hampshire Federal Federal
New Jersey Federal Federal
New Mexico Federal Federal
New York Federal No limit
North Carolina Federal Federal
North Dakota Federal Federal
Ohio Federal Federal
Oklahoma Federal Federal
Oregon Federal No limit
Pennsylvania Federal Federal
Rhode Island Federal Federal
South Carolina Federal Federal
South Dakota Federal Federal
Tennessee Federal Federal
Texas Federal Federal
Utah Federal Federal
Vermont Federal No limit
Virginia Federal Federal
Washington Federal Federal
West Virginia Federal Federal
Wisconsin Federal Federal
Wyoming Federal Federal

 

States have exercised the following options:

  • Connecticut: Income limits increased to 211%/231%/246% FPL, with no standard disregard in order to align with SPAP program.
  • District of Columbia: Increased income limits for QMB to 300% FPL. All applications are for QMB.
  • Illinois: Increased disregards to $25 for single or $50 for couple.
  • Indiana: Increased income limits to 150%/170%/185% FPL.
  • Maine: Increased disregards to $75 for single and $100 for couples. Income limits increased to 140%/160%/175% FPL. Assets count liquid assets only.
  • Mississippi: Increased disregard to $50.
  • Nebraska: QMB program replaced with full Medicaid.
  • South Carolina: QMB program provides full Medicaid.

Several states use different naming conventions for their programs from the standard nomenclature:

  • Alaska: QI is called SLMB Plus
  • Connecticut: QI is called ALMB
  • District of Columbia: All applications are for QMB
  • Maryland: QI is called SLMB II
  • North Carolina: QMB, SLMB, and QI are called MQB, MQB-B, and MBQ-E respectively
  • Nebraska: Federal QMB is replaced with full Medicaid. SLMB and QI are referred to as QMB.
  • New Hampshire: QI is called SLMB-135
  • Oregon: SLMB and QI are called SMB and SMF respectively
  • Wisconsin: QI is called SLMB Plus

These charts and information are included in our downloadable MSP Eligibility and Coverage Chart.