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Posted by on Mar 10, 2014 in Legislation Affecting Seniors, Medicare, Seniors First San Diego, Sharon Lee | 0 comments

Support the Medicare Qualified Individual (QI) Program

QI Program Update

Medicare Part B background:

Medicare is a federal insurance program which covers all persons 65 or older who have made Social Security contributions, disabled persons under 65, and those with end-stage renal disease. Medicare is composed of several parts, including Hospital Insurance (Part A) and Medical Insurance (Part B). Most people pay the Part B premium of $104.90 each month.

What the Qualified Individual (QI) Program Accomplishes:

Qualified Individual-I (QI-1) is a Medicare Savings Program that helps low-income individuals pay for their Part B premiums. In order to qualify for this program, individuals and couples must meet income and asset limits. The monthly incomes must range between 120% and 135% of the Federal Poverty Line (FPL), which is $1,333 for an individual and $1,790 for a couple. The asset limit for an individual is $7,160 and $10,750 for a couple.

San Diego Impact:

From 2000 to 2010, the San Diego region experienced the following population increases in its older adult population[1]:

  • Those 60 and over increased from 404,025 to 531,980;
  • Those aged 65 and over increased from 313,750 to 378,604;
  • Those aged 75 and over increased from 153,691 to 191,037.

Without the QI Program, the monthly Part B premium becomes a major burden for low-income seniors and disabled persons. $104.90 represents 10% of a QI recipient’s entire monthly income. The average gross rent in San Diego was $1,331 in 2012.[2] It is virtually impossible for a low-income senior to pay for basic necessities, such as rent, food, health care deductibles, and medications.In San Diego, 2 out of 5 seniors lack adequate resources to meet their basic needs. [3]The QI program acts as a critical safety net by allowing thousands of seniors to keep $1,258.80 disposable income to survive.

Future of the QI Program:

QI was scheduled to expire on December 31, 2013 and was extended for five years.

We urge Congress to make the QI program permanent.

[1] SANDAG

[2] US Census Bureau

[3] Senior Community Centers

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