Medicare beneficiaries who struggle with medical costs may be eligible for Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) programs. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you can also benefit from QMB. However, navigating how QMB works with Medicare Advantage Plans can be overwhelming. This article aims to guide you through the process of enrolling in QMB, the benefits of pairing it with Medicare Advantage Plans, and the eligibility requirements. Additionally, it explores the impact of changes in policies and regulations, and a comparison of QMB with other Medicare Savings Programs.

A step-by-step guide on how QMB works with Medicare Advantage Plans

QMB is a program that helps Medicare beneficiaries with their out-of-pocket expenses, such as premiums, deductibles, and co-payments. The program is for low-income individuals and couples who meet the eligibility requirements described in the next section. When enrolled in a QMB program, you will receive a special card proving your eligibility and will be automatically eligible for Extra Help with prescription drug costs.

A QMB program works with traditional Medicare, but it can also work with Medicare Advantage Plans. Medicare Advantage Plans are health insurance policies for Medicare beneficiaries that provide services, such as drug coverage and out-of-pocket cost limits. When enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan and a QMB program, the QMB benefits will apply to the plan’s premiums, deductibles, co-insurance, and co-payments. It’s important to note that not all doctors and hospitals accept every Medicare Advantage Plan, so be sure to check beforehand.

Here is how to enroll in a QMB program and apply it to a Medicare Advantage Plan:

  1. Contact your local Medicaid office to see if you qualify for QMB.
  2. If eligible, complete and submit an application to enroll in a QMB program.
  3. Notify your Medicare Advantage Plan that you are now enrolled in QMB.
  4. Present your QMB card when you seek medical services to receive the benefits.

Benefits of QMB with Medicare Advantage Plans

The QMB program can provide several advantages when paired with a Medicare Advantage Plan:

  • No premium payments. The QMB program may cover your Medicare Advantage Plan monthly fee, depending on your state, which can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars annually.
  • No deductibles. A Medicare Advantage Plan may still have a deductible even if you have a QMB program, but that deductible can be reduced or eliminated, allowing you to save even more.
  • No co-insurance or co-payments. With a QMB program in place, you won’t have to pay any out-of-pocket costs for Medicare-covered services.
  • Extra Help with prescription drugs. As mentioned earlier, enrollment in a QMB program automatically qualifies you for Extra Help with your prescription drug costs, which can be significant savings.

Here’s an example of how QMB benefits work with a Medicare Advantage Plan:

Jim has a Medicare Advantage Plan that charges him a $100 monthly premium. The plan also includes a $1,000 deductible, a 20% co-insurance for medical services, and a $20 co-payment for a doctor’s visit. Jim enrolls in a QMB program, and his QMB benefits cover his entire monthly premium, his $1,000 deductible, and his 20% co-insurance, meaning he doesn’t have to pay any co-insurance payments. Jim also doesn’t have to pay the $20 co-payment for doctor visits, saving him over $600 annually in premiums and other medical costs.

Understanding eligibility requirements for QMB and Medicare Advantage Plans

The eligibility requirements for QMB and Medicare Advantage plans are as follows:

To qualify for QMB:

  • You must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B.
  • Your income must be at or below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).
  • Your resources (such as assets and savings) must be limited to no more than $7,860 for an individual or $11,800 for a couple.

To enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan:

  • You must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B.
  • You must live in the plan’s service area.
  • You cannot have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).

If you are not eligible for QMB or Medicare Advantage plans, you may still qualify for other Medicare Savings Programs, such as Qualified Individual (QI) or Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) programs, which also provide benefits such as premium and cost-sharing assistance. Be sure to check the eligibility requirements for these programs.

The impact of changes in QMB and Medicare Advantage Plans

Changes in policies and regulations can significantly impact QMB and Medicare Advantage Plans. For instance, changes in the Federal Poverty Level may impact the income eligibility requirements for QMB, and changes in Medicare Advantage Plans’ service areas may make it challenging for certain individuals to enroll. Furthermore, changes in policies endorsed by Congress may impact enrollment rates, benefits, and premiums.

If you encounter any changes in policies, it’s crucial to stay informed by following government websites or your state QMB program office. You can also consider consulting a Medicare insurance agent for assistance in determining the effect of these policies on your benefits.

A comparison of QMB and other Medicare Savings Programs

Other Medicare Savings Programs provide similar benefits to QMB. These include:

  • Qualified Individual (QI) Program – pays for your Medicare Part B premiums.
  • Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) Program – pays for your Part B premiums and reduces Part A and B deductibles and co-insurance.
  • Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals (QDWI) Program – helps pay your Part A premiums if you lost them due to returning to work.

When deciding which program is the best fit for your needs, consider the total cost savings, the specifics of your situation, and what each program provides for your Medicare Advantage Plan.


Overall, QMB is an excellent way to relieve financial pressures when it comes to out-of-pocket medical expenses. By enrolling in a QMB program and pairing it with a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can save money on premiums, deductibles, co-insurance, and even prescription drug costs. Remember, some doctors and hospitals may not accept every Medicare Advantage Plan, so be sure to contact your physician or facility for more information about the plan they accept before enrolling in one.

If you meet the eligibility requirements and qualify for these programs, take advantage of the benefits offered to you. If you’re not sure if you qualify or which program is best suited for your needs, don’t hesitate to contact the local Medicaid office or seek the advice of a Medicare insurance agent.

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By Happy Sharer

Hi, I'm Happy Sharer and I love sharing interesting and useful knowledge with others. I have a passion for learning and enjoy explaining complex concepts in a simple way.

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