Friday, October 21, 2005
On October 20, 2005 Congress passed, and President Bush signed into law, H.R. 3971, which, among other things, extends the QI program for two years until September 30, 2007. Medicare beneficiaries who have incomes between 120% and 135% of federal poverty levels and countable assets less than $4,000 for an individual or $6,000 for a couple qualify for the QI program. Some states, like Connecticut, have no asset test for the program. The benefit for those who qualify is payment of the Medicare Part B premium by the state Medicaid program. The program is funded entirely with federal dollars. Importantly, people who receive QI benefits are also automatically eligible for the low-income subsidy that assists with costs under Medicare Part D. A few senators who champion the cause of low-income people have indicated plans to introduce legislation to make the QI program permanent.