The 2018 Federal Poverty Level Guidelines

Understanding the 2018 Federal Poverty Guidelines

We explain the 2018 Federal Poverty Guidelines and point you to the correct guidelines for 2018 open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare).[1]

One might assume that the 2018 Federal Poverty Level Guidelines are the guidelines one uses on 2018 marketplace plans obtained during open enrollment 2018, which starts Nov 1st, 2017 and ends Dec 15, 2017. This, however, is an incorrect assumption. For cost assistance on 2018 plans, you should use the 2017 Federal Poverty Level Guidelines (see that link for those guidelines).

Below are the 2018 Federal Poverty Guidelines that went into effect on January 13, 2018. These are to be used for:

  • Medicaid/CHIP between Jan 2018 and Jan 2019.
  • 2019 marketplace cost assistance on all marketplace health plans held in 2019 and purchased during open enrollment for 2019 (which starts in 2018, and which is why it uses the 2018 levels).
  • For special enrollment in 2019.
  • For ACA taxes for the 2019 calendar year filed in 2020.

TIP: Alaska and Hawaii use different guidelines (see this link to guidelines as published on HHS.Gov). See a list of all guidelines on our Federal Poverty Level Page.

2018 POVERTY GUIDELINES FOR THE 48 CONTIGUOUS STATES AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
PERSONS IN FAMILY/HOUSEHOLD POVERTY GUIDELINE
For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,320 for each additional person.
1 $12,140
2 $16,460
3 $20,780
4 $25,100
5 $29,420
6 $33,740
7 $38,060
8 $42,380

TIP: The 2018 poverty guidelines are in effect as of January 13, 2018. See also the Federal Register notice of the 2018 poverty guidelines, published January 18, 2018.

TIP: As noted, these guidelines will be used for taxes filed April 15, 2020, since those taxes will deal with 2019 tax credits, which will have been based on the 2018 poverty level. If you are filing taxes in 2019 for the 2018 calendar year, use the 2017 guidelines.

TIP: You’ll use the 2018 FPL guidelines for Medicaid and CHIP until late January 2019 when the new poverty level guidelines are released. To be clear, you don’t use these for cost assistance on 2018 plans. If you are using a special enrollment in 2018 because you had a life change and qualified, you should use the 2017 guidelines.

Citations

  1. U.S. FEDERAL POVERTY GUIDELINES USED TO DETERMINE FINANCIAL ELIGIBILITY FOR CERTAIN FEDERAL PROGRAMS