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Medicare: Financial Assistance (QMB, QWDI, SLIMB)

How Do I Enroll In One Of The Medicare Buy-In Plans?

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The Medicare Buy-In Programs (QMB, SLMB, QI1, QI2, QDWI) are all administered by the state or county agency that administers Medicaid in your state, usually the Department of Public Social Services or the Department of Health Services.

If you are already receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), apply at your Social Security office. Otherwise apply through your local welfare office.

Generally you will have to go to one of those offices and apply in person for the program.

NOTE: The workers you will be dealing with are primarily Medicaid eligibility workers so all may not be familiar with the Medicare Buy-In programs. If your worker does not seem clear on the Programs or their eligibility requirements, ask to speak to a supervisor -- politely, of course. (See Make a Friend).

When you apply, take with you:

  • Birth, death, marriage, divorce, separation and child support/custody papers
  • Citizenship or immigration forms
  • Documentation to confirm your income and resource levels. Each office may have different requirements. If your assets and income are low enough to qualify for one of the programs, you will probably need only proof of your Social Security benefit, if that's your only income, and six months of bank statements if they are your primary assets in addition to one car and a residence.
  • Auto registration
  • Driver's license or other proof of identity and residence
  • Your Medicare card. If you are receiving a Social Security benefit such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), also take the latest letter from Social Security stating what your benefit total is. If you've lost this letter, call 800.772.1213 for a new one.

Medicaid eligibility offices can be crowded so go as early as possible, wear comfortable clothes and shoes, and take plenty of reading material.

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