How To Save Money When You’re On Medicare
Healthcare costs can be a pricey item in the average American’s budget. And these costs continue to rise each year, taking bigger bites out of your income. If you or a family member is retired or under 65 and disabled, where can you get help?
In Maryland, Medicare-eligible residents can get help from four state and federally funded programs with their Part B premiums and their prescription drug costs.
Medicare Savings Programs
The Medicare Savings Program includes two joint federal and state programs to help pay Part A and B premiums, plus other medical costs.
Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) and Specified Low Income Medicare Beneficiary Programs, known as QMB (kwim’-bee) and SLMB (slim’-bee) pay full or partial benefits. Eligibility is different for the two programs.
- QMB: Pays monthly Part B and Part A (if applicable) premiums, deductibles, coinsurance, and co-pays.
- SLMB: Pays monthly Part B premium only.
If you have limited income and resources, and meet other requirements, you can apply using one application for either program. Once approved, you will have to recertify every year or lose these benefits.
Prescription Drug Savings
Thefederal Extra HelpProgram, or Low-Income Subsidy (LIS), helps people with limited resources and income pay for Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan costs, including monthly premiums, deductibles, and co-pays.
If you have Medicare, and depending on your income and assets, you may qualify for either full or partial Extra Help. Both programs help with the cost of your drugs.
Maryland Senior Prescription Drug Assistance Program
The Maryland Senior Prescription Drug Assistance Program (SPDAP) helps pay up to $50.00 per month for Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage prescription drug plan premiums. Eligibility requirements are:
- Show residency in Maryland for at least six months
- Receive Medicare
- Have an income at or below 300% of the Federal Poverty Level
If you qualify for the federal Extra Help program, you are not eligible for SPDAP.
Where To Go for Information
For help with your prescription drug plan costs, these websites have information and an application:
- Montgomery County SHIP: www.MedicareABCD.org
- Medicare Savings Programs (QMB/SLMB): https://mmcp.health.maryland.gov/Pages/Medicare-Savings-Programs.aspx
- Extra Help Program: https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare/prescriptionhelp/
- Maryland SPDAP: https://marylandspdap.com/
So Where Can You Go for More Medicare Information?
The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) is a supporting federal program designed to provide local, in-depth, and unbiased insurance counseling and assistance to Medicare-eligible individuals, their families, and caregivers.
Montgomery County SHIP is your local resource for all things Medicare.
We counsel and inform Montgomery County, Maryland, Medicare-eligible residents about Medicare coverage and choices, costs, beneficiary rights, and programs to help those who do not have the financial resources to pay for their coverage.
Made possible with a grant from US Community for Living through the State of Maryland and Montgomery County. Montgomery County contracted with the Jewish Council for Aging to manage the Montgomery County SHIP program.