What's the Federal Poverty Level?

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If you buy your own health insurance, this explains how the Federal Poverty Level affects what you pay for your plan.

Federal poverty guidelines are issued each year by the Department of Health and Human Services. They're based on information gathered by the Census Bureau. The Bureau uses that data to calculate the total cost of essential resources used by an average person in a year.

Your eligibility for certain programs and benefits, including health insurance, depends on how your income compares to these guidelines, also called the Federal Poverty Level.

How the Federal Poverty Level affects your health coverage choices

The Federal Poverty Level is used to decide who's eligible for government health insurance programs like Medicaid. How your income compares to the Federal Poverty Level also decides whether you can get help paying for your plan. This help is called a subsidy.

If your income is between 100 to 400 percent above the Federal Poverty Level, you could be eligible for the Advanced Premium Tax Credit subsidy. It lowers what you pay each month for your health plan.

If your income is between 138 to 250 percent above the Federal Poverty Level, you could be eligible for both the tax credit subsidy and Cost Sharing Reduction. This subsidy means you qualify for silver plans with lower cost-sharing amounts, like deductibles and coinsurance.

We've made it easy for you to find out if you're eligible for subsidies. Just use our subsidy estimator.

For Native Americans

Members of federally-recognized tribes are eligible for additional help based on the Federal Poverty Level. If you're a Native American or an Alaska Native and your income is up to 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, you may qualify for plans with no cost-sharing. That means your plan has no deductible, copays or coinsurance. Learn more.

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