The SLMB program helps you pay for Medicare Part B premiums. To qualify, you must have certain monthly income or resource limitations.

A Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) program is a state-sponsored program that provides financial assistance in paying for Medicare Part B premiums. Under this program, Medicaid will cover your Medicare part B premium costs.

To qualify, you or your spouse must have limited income and resources. This program can help make healthcare more affordable if you have difficulty paying your medical bills.

An SLMB program is one of four different Medicare savings programs that can help you pay for Medicare costs with state assistance. The SLMB program may help you pay for Medicare Part B premiums.

Even if you qualify for a premium-free Part A plan under Original Medicare, you usually still need to pay the monthly premium for Part B. For 2024, the lowest premium amount is $174.70 per month.

An SLMB program can cover these expenses and lower your overall healthcare costs.

If you or a loved one qualifies for an SLMB program, you will automatically qualify for Medicare Extra Help. This additional program helps you pay for prescription drug coverage through Medicare.

There are different levels of Extra Help, which can help you pay for coinsurance, deductibles, and premiums for prescription drug costs.

To be eligible for a SLMB program, you must also be eligible for Medicare Part A and meet certain income or resource requirements.

To be eligible for Medicare Part A, you must be age 65 years or older or have a qualifying disability, end stage renal disease (ESRD), or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). You also must have worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 40 quarters (about 10 years) to qualify for premium-free Part A.

To participate in the SLMB program, you must have limited income and resources. These financial limits may vary from year to year. For 2024, the limits are:

Individual monthly limitMarried couple monthly limit
Income limit$1,526$2,064
Resource limit$9,430$14,130

Income limits are slightly higher in Alaska and Hawaii. You should contact your state’s Medicaid office to find out the current limits if you live in these states.

What are resources?

Resources include certain items you have or money in a bank account. Here are some examples of what may be considered resources:

  • money in a checking or savings account
  • stocks
  • bonds

Your home, car, burial plot, furniture, and other household items do not count as resources. If you have questions about whether any specific items or accounts count as resources, contact your state Medicaid office, which can provide a list of specific resources and limits for your state.

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Even if you do qualify for an SLMB program, you may not necessarily qualify for Medicaid benefits. Medicaid requires that you meet separate income limits. If you aren’t eligible for Medicaid, though, you still may be able to get SLMB benefits.

Just try — apply!

If you need assistance or think you might qualify for an SLMB program, you should apply. Some states have flexibility in income qualifications (especially in Alaska and Hawaii), and income limits can change every year.

Here are some steps you can take to start the enrollment process for the SLMB program:

  • Contact your state Medicaid office and ask how to apply. This may involve having an appointment in person or submitting an application online or by mail.
  • Collect the necessary documents to show your state Medicaid office. These typically include your Medicare card, Social Security card, birth certificate or other proof of citizenship, proof of address, proof of income, and a bank statement that outlines your assets.
  • Make copies of these key documents in case you need them again.
  • Look for a notice in the mail within 45 days that informs you of your application status.
  • If Medicaid has denied your application, you have a right to request a hearing to challenge this decision.
  • If your application has been approved, Medicaid will start paying for your Medicare Part B premium and will let you know when coverage will begin.
  • Confirm that Social Security no longer takes this premium out of your monthly check.

Sometimes, it can take time for Medicaid to start paying Medicare directly. You will receive a check for the sum for any months that Medicaid was supposed to pay your premium but didn’t.

You will receive a yearly notification that you need to renew or recertify your SLMB benefits. If, for some reason, you don’t receive a notification, contact your state Medicaid office to ensure your benefits don’t run out.

When you qualify for the SLMB program, you will receive a notice from Medicare saying that you qualify for Extra Help. You can then submit this information to your Part D plan so you can save money on your prescriptions, too.

  • The SLMB program can pay for your Medicare Part B premiums.
  • You may qualify based on your income or resources. These limits may vary from state to state.
  • Contact your state’s Medicaid office to find out how to apply and what types of documentation you need.
  • You should hear back within 45 days of applying if you qualify.