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32.2 Qualified Medicare Beneficiary

32.2.1 Introduction

32.2.2 Entitled to Medicare

32.2.3 QMB Income Limit


32.2.1 Introduction

The following are Medicaid members who are automatically eligible for QMB benefits:


Note: If a member is not eligible for categorically needy SSI-related Medicaid through any of these four groups, he or she is not automatically eligible for QMB benefits.


Example 1: Kate receives an SSDC payment from Social Security. Due to other unearned income, however, Kate is not eligible for categorically needy SSI-related Medicaid as a DAC. Even though she receives a “DAC” payment, she is not automatically eligible for QMB because she is not eligible for Medicaid through the receipt of SSI or through Special Status Medicaid.


A 503 assistance group, DAC, and widow or widower, as defined above, have the option of not taking the QMB benefit.

32.2.2 Entitled to Medicare

A person is "entitled" to Medicare Part A if he or she meets one of the following conditions:


  1. He or she does not have to pay Medicare Part A, and he or she is receiving Medicare Part A services as of the QMB determination.


Example 2: Mrs. Smith applies for QMB benefits August 15. She has a Medicare card with a Part A begin date of June 1. Since Medicare will pay for Part A services as of June 1, she is "entitled" to Part A at the time of the QMB determination.


  1. He or she must pay a monthly premium to receive Medicare Part A, and he or she fits one of the following descriptions:


  1. He or she is a Medicaid member and has been enrolled in Medicare sometime in the past. In this case the State will attempt to enroll him or her in Medicare Part A. QMB eligibility cannot begin prior to the Part A begin date.


Example 3: Eleanor's Part A lapsed because he did not work enough quarters for free enrollment and she could no longer afford the premiums.  When he becomes eligible for Medicaid, the State will begin paying her Medicare premiums.


    1. He or she is a Medicaid member or QMB or SLMB or QDWI applicant and has never been enrolled in the federal Medicare system.  In this case he or she must apply at the local SSA office for Part A Medicare eligibility. He or she will receive a receipt which entitles him or her to enrollment in Part A on the condition that he or she is found eligible for QMB or SLMB. The receipt from SSA will have a Part A begin date on it. QMB OR SLMB or QDWI eligibility cannot begin prior to the Part A begin date.


Example 4: Pearl was never enrolled in the federal Medicare system.  She applies for QMB.  Before she can become QMB eligible she must obtain a receipt for conditional eligibility for Part A Medicare.  She goes to the SSA office during the January-March enrollment period and is conditionally determined eligible for Part A effective July 1st.  She applies for QMB at the IM Agency on May 1st.  She becomes QMB eligible as of July 1st.

32.2.3 QMB Income Limit

The QMB income limit is 100% of the federal poverty level (FPL ).  See 39.5 FPL Table.


The method of counting income is based on the SSI method, not on the spousal impoverishment method. (See 28.1 HCBWLTC Introduction). Calculate QMB net income as follows:


$ Earned income (See 15.5 Earned Income)

- $65 and ½ earned income deduction (15.7.5 $65 and ½ Earned Income Deduction)

+ Unearned income (social security income, etc.) (15.4 Unearned Income)

- Special exempt income (15.7.2 Special Exempt Income)

- $20 standard deduction

= Net income used to determine QMB eligibility


When counting social security income, use gross social security income.  Gross social security income:

  1. Of a self-payer = the social security check amount + Medicare premiums he or she has paid.

  2. Of someone for whom the State is paying the premiums = the social security check amount.


Disregard the COLA increase for the current year until the month after the new federal poverty limits become effective.


Example 5: Big Al is a QMB member.  He has income of $900.00.  The QMB income limit in December is $907.50.  In January, a COLA increase of $11.17 increases Big Al's income to $911.17.  Disregard the COLA increase in any determination of Big Al's continuing QMB eligibility.  On April 1st, new, higher QMB in-come limits are published.  Redetermine Big Al's QMB eligibility in May.  At this redetermination, do not disregard the January COLA increase.




This page last updated in Release Number: 17-01

Release Date: 05/05/2017

Effective Date: 05/05/2017