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Are You Eligible for the Medicare Savings Program?

Lorraine York-Edberg, Western Mass. Regional SHINE ProgramLorraine York-Edberg, Western Mass. Regional SHINE Program DirectorThe Medicare Savings Programs, also known as the Massachusetts Buy-In Programs, are a set of benefits administered by our Massachusetts State Medicaid Agency. 

The programs are divided into several categories called the:

  • Qualified Medicare Beneficiary Program (QMB/Senior Buy-In)
  • Specified Low Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB/Premium Assistance)
  • Qualifying Individual (QI-1/Premium Assistance)

All of these programs assist beneficiaries with their Medicare Part B monthly Premium payment of $148.50 and offer assistance with a free Medicare Part D Drug Plan that offers reduced copays for your medications. In addition to those benefits, if you are eligible at the level of the Senior Buy-In Program/Qualified Medicare Beneficiary Program, the program pays your Part A and B deductibles and copays for Medicare services. 

This program expanded its income eligibility levels by 30% thanks to the hard work of the Massachusetts Senior Action Council, Governor Baker, and our Legislators.  In January of 2020 and in March of 2021, the state raised the eligibility levels in line with the current Federal Poverty Level. 

See If You Qualify 

If your income and assets are at or below the amounts listed here, you may qualify for help from one of these Medicare Savings Programs.

Income and Asset Limits Effective March 1, 2021
  Income / Month Assets
Single $1,771 $15,940
Married $2,396 $23,920
Prescription Drug Copayments with Extra Help Effective March 1, 2021
  Per 30-Day Supply
Generic $3.70
Brand Name $9.20

Additionally, these programs are not subject to estate recovery since January of 2010, so the state will NOT place a lien on your property to recover benefits following your death.

To apply, it is an easy, one-page application that is simple to fill out, with no verifications.  To get this application you can contact MassHealth at 1-800-841-2900 and request the Medicare Buy-In application and they can send it to you. Additionally applications are available online.

We also have applications available here at the regional SHINE office upon request.  If you need an application sent to you, or assistance completing one, please call us at 413-773-5555.  We are happy to help.

When does coverage begin? If you are eligible for MassHealth Senior Buy-In, your coverage begins in the month after MassHealth processes your application. If you are eligible for the Buy-In Program, in most cases the coverage begins as early as three months before your application month.

The SHINE program, Serving the Health Information Needs of Everyone, provides free, confidential, and unbiased health insurance counseling for Medicare beneficiaries. To reach a trained and certified counselor in your area, contact the regional office at 1-800-498-4232 or 413-773-5555.