If you qualify for one of the three main Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs), your Medicare Part B monthly premium will no longer be deducted from your Social Security check. Additionally, you will automatically get Extra Help, the federal program that helps with Part D prescription drugs costs. Each MSP program also offers separate benefits. Remember, you cannot choose to apply for a certain MSP: you will be enrolled in the MSP that corresponds to your income, assets, and other application details.
Qualified Individual (QI)
If you are enrolled in the QI program, you may receive up to three months of retroactive reimbursement for Part B premiums deducted from your Social Security check. Note that you can only be reimbursed for premiums paid up to three months before your MSP effective date, and within the same year of that effective date. For example, if you submitted an MSP application at the end of 2020 and are approved for February 2021, you can only receive premium reimbursement for January 2021 because you cannot be reimbursed for premiums paid in the previous year. If your QI effective date is April 2021, you would receive premium reimbursements for January, February, and March.
Specified Low-income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB)
If you are enrolled in the SLMB program, you may receive up to three months of retroactive reimbursement for Part B premiums. Unlike QI, you may be reimbursed for premiums from the previous calendar year. For example, if you submitted an MSP application at the end of 2020 and are approved for February 2021, you may be reimbursed for premiums paid in November and December of 2020 as well as January 2021.
Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB)
Unlike QI and SLMB, QMB does not offer retroactive premium reimbursement. Instead, federal law prohibits Medicare providers from billing you if you are enrolled in QMB. This means Medicare providers should not bill you for any Medicare-covered services you receive. Additionally, if you have to pay Part A premiums because you do not have 10 years of documented work history in the United States, QMB will pay the Part A premium for you.