New Mexico Waives Medicare Savings Programs Asset Test

ALTSD News:

The New Mexico Aging & Long-Term Service Department (ALTSD) announces that the Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs) help pay your Medicare costs if you have limited income.

New Mexico has waived the asset test for Medicare Savings Programs as of Jan. 1, 2021.

If you applied for a MSP in the past and were denied due to being over the asset limit, now is the time to reapply, since asset guidelines no longer apply and only your income will be considered when determining eligibility.

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 and other application details.

Qualified Individual (QI) – Income limit $1436

  • Covers Medicare Part B premium only
  • Eligibility begins the month of approval

Specified Low-income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) – Income limit $1276

  • Covers Medicare Part B premium only
  • Eligibility begins the month of approval

Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) – Income limit $1064

  • Covers Medicare Part B premium
  • Medicare copay/coinsurance amounts
  • Medicare deductibles
  • Will pay conditional Medicare Part A premium
  • Eligibility begins the month after the month of approval

Additional benefits of enrolling in an MSP include:

  • Allowing you to enroll in Medicare Part B outside of usual enrollment periods
  • Eliminating your Part B late enrollment penalty if you have one
  • Allowing you to change your Medicare coverage quarterly, instead of having to wait for
  • Open Enrollment in the fall
  • Automatic enrollment in the Extra Help program

You can apply for the MSP online at Yes.state.nm.us or call the Aging & Disability Resource Center (ADRC) at 1.800.432.2080 and ask to speak with a New Mexico State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) representative.

The ADRC also has live webchat available at www.nmaging.state.nm.us. After enrolling in any of the three programs above, you should receive premium-free Part B.

You should be sent an MSP decision notice from your local Medicaid office within 45 days of filing an application. The notice will tell you if your MSP application is approved or denied. If you are approved, it may take three to four months before your benefits take effect—but you should receive the MSP and premium-free Part B retroactive to the effective date on your decision notice.

To use the MSP to enroll in Medicare Part B outside the General Enrollment Period, you must currently have Medicare Part A. People not eligible for free Part A may need help navigating the Part A buy-in. For information and assistance, call the ADRC at 800.432.2080. The Medicare General Enrollment Period during which people who are over 65 but do not have Medicare Part A or B ends March 31.

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