What are the federal poverty level (FPL) guidelines for health insurance?

The federal poverty level is set each year by Health and Human Services (HHS). The government uses these guidelines to determine your household’s eligibility for government health insurance programs like Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and premium tax credits

The government deals with you in the context of your household. If you’re single and file taxes as an individual, you’re a household of one. If you have a family of four and file a single tax return for you, your spouse, your two dependents, you’re a household of four. 

The federal poverty level increases with household size. I’ve listed the 2021 federal poverty level (FPL) numbers below.

2021 Federal Poverty Level (FPL) amounts

2021 Federal Poverty Levels (FPLs) for the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia

  • $12,880 for a household of 1
  • $17,420 for a household of 2
  • $21,960 for a household of 3
  • $26,500 for a household of 4
  • $31,040 for a household of 5
  • $35,580 for a household of 6
  • $40,120 for a household of 7
  • $44,660 for a household of 8

If your household has more than eight people in the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia, add $4,540 for each additional person.

2021 Poverty Guidelines for Alaska

  • $16,090 for a household of 1
  • $21,770 for a household of 2
  • $27,450 for a household of 3
  • $33,130 for a household of 4
  • $38,810 for a household of 5
  • $44,490 for a household of 6
  • $50,170 for a household of 7
  • $55,850 for a household of 8

If your household has more than eight people in Alaska, add $5,680 for each additional person.

2021 Poverty Guidelines for Hawaii

  • $14,820 for a household of 1
  • $20,040 for a household of 2
  • $25,260 for a household of 3
  • $30,480 for a household of 4
  • $35,700 for a household of 5
  • $40,920 for a household of 6
  • $46,140 for a household of 7
  • $51,360 for a household of 8

If your household has more than eight people in Hawaii, add $5,220 for each additional person.

How to calculate your income and household size

When applying for a program that uses federal poverty levels to decide eligibility, be sure to verify how it defines income and household size. The federal poverty levels do not set a standard definition of “income” or “household” size. Programs using these poverty guidelines to define eligibility define these terms.  For example, the Marketplace and the IRS use MAGI (modified adjusted gross income) for income and “tax household” for a household.[1]


Notes:

[1] A tax household includes all individuals listed on a single federal income tax return.

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