Does Medicaid Cover Medicare Premiums?

Are you wondering, “does Medicaid cover Medicare premiums?” The direct answer is yes, with certain qualifications. Medicaid can assist with Medicare premiums if you are ‘dual eligible,’ meaning you qualify for both Medicaid and Medicare, often based on income and resource limits.

This article delves into the intricacies of dual eligibility, the role of Medicare Savings Programs, and how to navigate these benefits to offset your healthcare costs.


Key Takeaways

  • Medicaid can assist dual-eligible individuals by covering Medicare premiums, deductibles, and cost sharing, significantly reducing the burden of healthcare costs for those with limited income.



  • Eligibility for assistance from Medicaid and Medicare Savings Programs is dependent on Federal Poverty Level guidelines and state-specific rules, and individuals can apply for these programs through their state medical assistance office or the Social Security Administration.

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Medicaid and Medicare: The Connection

Medicare and Medicaid, integral parts of America’s healthcare system, serve different populations by providing health coverage.

Medicare is a federal initiative designed primarily for individuals aged 65 and older, while Medicaid is a state-administered program that covers medical expenses for individuals with limited income and resources. Now, imagine a scenario where an individual qualifies for both programs. This is where the concept of ‘dual eligibility’ comes into play.


How Medicaid Helps with Medicare Costs

In 2020, 73% of dual-eligible individuals, those qualifying for both Medicare and Medicaid, had access to the full spectrum of Medicaid benefits.

These benefits extend beyond what Medicare covers, such as long-term services and supports, and non-emergency medical transportation. Almost all of the 12.5 million dual-eligible individuals are enrolled in Medicare Savings Programs, which assist in covering Medicare costs.


Understanding Dual Eligibility

Individuals who meet the criteria for both Medicare and Medicaid are referred to as dual eligible. The majority of individuals become eligible for Medicare at the age of 65, but eligibility may be possible at a younger age if the individual has a disability or specific medical conditions.

To be dual eligible, an individual must meet the eligibility criteria for both Medicare and Medicaid, and be enrolled in both. This often includes having a limited income.

Dual eligibility offers a significant advantage as it allows individuals to access both Medicare and Medicaid coverage, providing enhanced healthcare coverage and additional support from the state. For example, Medicaid can cover costs not included in Medicare, such as long-term care services and prescription drugs.


How Medicaid Helps with Medicare Costs

Medicaid can significantly ease the burden of Medicare costs for dual-eligible individuals. It can help cover:


  • Medicare premiums
  • Deductibles
  • Medicare cost sharing for certain individuals, particularly those with incomes below the federal poverty level and financial resources below specific limits.


Interestingly, states have the authority to broaden the eligibility criteria for Medicare Savings Programs. This means individuals with incomes or assets surpassing the federal minimums can still qualify for assistance.

The level of income significantly impacts the type of coverage received. For instance, individuals with incomes below the federal poverty level are eligible to receive coverage for both Medicare premiums and cost sharing.

Medicare Savings Programs: An Overview

For those who don’t qualify for full Medicaid benefits but still need financial assistance with their Medicare costs, Medicare Savings Programs provide a glimmer of hope. The programs consist of four different types, each designed to cater to specific groups of beneficiaries and offer different levels of assistance.


Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) Program


Will the state pay for my medicare premium

The Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) program is an example of a Medicare Savings Program that provides significant relief to beneficiaries.

It assists in covering Medicare Part A and B premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance for individuals who meet the eligibility criteria.

To be eligible for the QMB program, individuals need to have an income below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and resources totaling less than $9,090 if single or $13,630 if married.

This means meeting the specified income and resource thresholds is necessary to qualify. Once eligible, beneficiaries can enjoy coverage for Medicare Part A and Part B premiums, deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments, providing substantial cost savings.




Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) and Qualifying Individual (QI) Programs

The Specified Low-Income Beneficiary (SLMB) Program is another key component of the Medicare Savings Programs. It offers support by covering Medicare Part B premiums for individuals whose income falls within the range of 100-120% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

Apart from the SLMB program, the Qualifying Individual (QI) Program assists individuals with incomes falling between 120-135% of the FPL by helping with Medicare Part B premiums. The SLMB and QI programs are instrumental in increasing healthcare accessibility and affordability for individuals with limited income and resources.


Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals (QDWI) Program

The Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals (QDWI) Program aims to support disabled individuals who are working but not receiving Social Security benefits.

This program assists by covering Medicare Part A premiums, offering much-needed relief to those who are under the age of 65, have a disability, and do not qualify for premium-free Part A.

To be eligible for the QDWI Program, an individual’s income must not exceed 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, with specified monthly and resources limits.

This program, along with others, is a testament to the commitment to offering financial assistance to individuals with limited income and resources, striving to make healthcare more accessible and affordable.

How to Determine Your Eligibility for Assistance

Initially, figuring out your eligibility for assistance from Medicaid and Medicare Savings Programs may seem overwhelming.

However, understanding the federal poverty level guidelines and state-specific eligibility rules can make the process much easier. These guidelines and rules form the basis for determining who can qualify for these programs and the level of assistance they may receive.


Federal Poverty Level Guidelines

Eligibility for Medicaid and Medicare Savings Programs largely depends on the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) guidelines. These guidelines use income thresholds that vary according to household size to determine whether an individual qualifies for assistance.


Do i need medicare part b if i have medicaid



The FPL guidelines significantly impact the eligibility for assistance programs. Specific income limits, set as a percentage of the FPL, determine whether an individual qualifies for certain assistance programs, with a commonly used threshold at or below 135% of the FPL. However, not all states strictly adhere to these guidelines.

Some states provide more generous coverage, with eligibility thresholds extending to at least 138% of the FPL for Medicaid and at least 133% for children’s coverage.


State-Specific Medicaid Eligibility Rules

While the FPL guidelines provide a federal standard for income eligibility, Medicaid eligibility rules can differ considerably among states. Each state manages its Medicaid program within federal guidelines, leading to a broad spectrum of differences in eligibility criteria, benefit offerings, and provider reimbursement policies.

States consider a range of factors, including income, family size, and coverage by eligibility group, when assessing an individual’s Medicaid eligibility.

For instance, in California, the Medicaid eligibility criteria consider income limits based on household size and allow individuals to qualify for Medi-Cal even if they are not eligible for other programs.

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Applying for Medicaid and Medicare Savings Programs

Once you’ve determined your eligibility for Medicaid and Medicare Savings Programs, the next step is to apply. The application process involves reaching out to your local Medicaid office to obtain the application steps and submission information, and working with the Social Security Administration.


Contacting Your State Medical Assistance Office

When applying for Medicaid, Medicare Savings Programs, and skilled nursing facility care, your local or state medical assistance office can offer useful guidance. These offices can provide guidance and information, helping you assess your eligibility for assistance and navigate the application process.

The state medical assistance offices are responsible for administering Medicaid and Medicare Savings Programs. They provide various services aimed at alleviating medical expenses, including reducing Medicare costs and offering assistance with premiums, deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. However, note that the specific services offered may differ from state to state.


Working with the Social Security Administration

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is a key player in the application process for Medicaid and Medicare Savings Programs. The SSA is responsible for:


  • Processing applications for Original Medicare
  • Offering comprehensive information about the Medicare program
  • Assisting in enhancing enrollment in Medicare Savings Programs by facilitating the Extra Help application process.



What is dual eligibility for medicare and medicaid



Eligibility for Medicare, as determined by the SSA, includes being at least 65 years old and eligible for monthly Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board cash benefits. Furthermore, individuals who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits become eligible for Medicare after a 24-month qualifying period.

Navigating Medicare Coverage Options as a Dual Eligible

Dual eligibility expands the range of possibilities regarding Medicare coverage. Apart from the financial assistance offered by Medicaid, dual-eligible individuals also have options when it comes to Medicare coverage, including the choice between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage Plans, and the availability of prescription drug coverage.


Understanding Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage

Medicare Part D, a voluntary benefit, provides Medicare prescription drug coverage and can potentially decrease overall costs by covering prescription drug expenses. This coverage is administered through private insurance companies which work in tandem with Medicare to offer a range of drug coverage options.


What does fbde medicaid cover



For individuals with limited income and resources, additional assistance is available through the Low-Income Subsidy program. This program offers help in covering prescription drug costs under Medicare Part D, thereby enhancing the affordability of prescription drugs for eligible beneficiaries.

Choosing Between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage Plans

You have two main choices for your health insurance coverage when it comes to Medicare: Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage Plans. Original Medicare, administered by the federal government, provides a standardized level of coverage for most medically necessary services and supplies in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other health care facilities, including hospital insurance benefits.

On the other hand, Medicare Advantage Plans, supplied by private companies, offer a broader scope of coverage. These plans, also known as Medicare Advantage Plan, include all the services that Original Medicare covers and often provide additional benefits like dental, vision, or fitness benefits. However, choosing a plan depends on individual needs and circumstances, and each option has its benefits and drawbacks.


In conclusion, understanding the intricacies of Medicaid and Medicare, and how they can work together to provide additional financial assistance for healthcare costs, is crucial for anyone navigating the U.S healthcare system.

Whether you’re dual eligible or qualify for a Medicare Savings Program, know that help is available. The key is to understand your options, assess your eligibility, and make informed decisions that best serve your healthcare needs.

Frequently Asked Questions



Will Medicaid pay for my Medicare Part B premium 2023 Texas?

Yes, Medicaid in Texas can help pay for your Medicare Part B premium if you qualify based on limited income and resources.


→  How do I not pay for Medicare Part B?

To not pay for Medicare Part B, you can qualify for financial assistance through the Medicare Savings Programs, which have varying eligibility criteria and income limits. Therefore, it is important to check the requirements in your state for potential assistance (Source:


What is dual eligibility?

Dual eligibility refers to individuals who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid, usually due to limited income and meeting specific eligibility criteria.


How does Medicaid help with Medicare costs?

Medicaid helps to cover Medicare premiums, deductibles, and cost-sharing for those who are dual-eligible, specifically for individuals with incomes below the federal poverty level and financial resources below specific limits. This assistance helps reduce the financial burden of healthcare costs for those who qualify.


What are the Medicare Savings Programs?

The Medicare Savings Programs offer financial assistance for Medicare costs to individuals who do not qualify for full Medicaid benefits. There are four different types of programs, each designed to provide assistance to specific groups of beneficiaries.

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Russell Noga
( Medicare Expert )

Russell Noga is the CEO of ZRN Health & Financial Services, and head content editor of several Medicare insurance online publications. He has over 15 years of experience as a licensed Medicare insurance broker helping Medicare beneficiaries learn about Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans, Medigap insurance, and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans.