February 7, 2018

HHS Releases 2018 Federal Poverty Guidelines (article)

The federal poverty guidelines for 2018 have been issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  These poverty guidelines are important for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the Affordable Care Act.  The FPL guidelines are used to determine eligibility for premium assistance and cost-sharing, as well as eligibility for other federal entitlement programs such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program, certain parts of Medicaid and subsidies for Medicare Part D prescription benefits.

In addition, the FPL guidelines are used for purposes of the safe harbor available for satisfying the affordability standard applicable to employers subject to the ACA’s employer shared responsibility provisions.  Coverage under an employer-sponsored plan is deemed affordable if the employee’s required contribution to the plan does not exceed 9.56 percent (indexed for 2018) of the employee’s household income for the taxable year, based on the cost of single coverage in the employer’s least expensive plan.  The FPL safe harbor method also permits use of the federal poverty guidelines in effect six months prior to the beginning of the plan year in order to provide adequate time to establish premium amounts in advance of the plan’s open enrollment period.

These FPL guidelines are effective as of January 13, 2018 unless an office administering a program using the guidelines specifies a different effective date for that particular program.  Below is a chart reflecting the 2018 and 2017 levels. 

2018 Poverty Guidelines for the 48 Contiguous States and District of Columbia*

Persons in family/household

2018 Poverty Guidelines

2017 Poverty Guidelines

























For families/households with more than 8 persons

Add $4,320 for each additional person

Add $4,180 for each additional person

*Note: The FPL limits vary slightly in Alaska and Hawaii. 

Additional poverty guidelines is available from the HHS Office of The Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation website

The information contained in this article is provided as general guidance and may be affected by changes in law or regulation. This article is not intended to replace or substitute for accounting or other professional advice. Please consult a CBIZ professional. This information is provided as-is with no warranties of any kind. CBIZ shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever in connection with its use and assumes no obligation to inform the reader of any changes in laws or other factors that could affect the information contained herein. 

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