2019 Federal Poverty Guidelines

Written by Gracie Kimble

February 22, 2019

Yesterday, February 21st, 2019 the annual federal poverty guidelines were announced. As an insurance agent, you know that these guidelines can affect your clients and prospects. Each year the Department of Health and Human Services announces these guidelines to determine eligibility for federal healthcare programs like Medicaid, the Low-Income Subsidy for Part D (LIS), and Medicare Savings programs.

This year (2019) the guidelines for the 48 contiguous states and Washington, DC are as follows:

  • $12,490 for a household of 1
  • $16,910 for a household of 2
  • $25,750 for a household of 3

These guidelines are established through federal law, which requires the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to update them based on the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumer, or known as CPI-U. The CPI-U is the measure of inflation or the amount of increase on certain goods and services over the past year. To calculate the amounts listed above, the previous poverty guideline amounts (year 2018) are multiplied by the CPI-U number, then rounded and adjusted for family size.

Government programs can vary of whether or not they use the poverty guidelines number directly or a percentage multiplier. For instance, the income limit for LIS (Extra Help) is 138% of the federal poverty guideline.

Many programs have specific rules about how income is counted. For example, the Medicare Savings Program applications calculate earned income at about 50%, therefore if an individual’s income is mostly from wages, they may seem to be over the income limit for a program but actually qualify.

If you believe you or a client could be eligible for a federal program or assistance, or your/client’s income is close to the guidelines, it is encouraged that you or your client apply for aid.

Need help applying? Don’t worry. Give us a call at 800-962-4693, and we would be glad to lead you in the right direction.

*The guidelines for Alaska and Hawaii differ and are published on a separate chart. In Puerto Rico and other outlying jurisdictions, federal programs may use the contiguous states and Washington, DC guidelines or the office that administers the program may choose to use a different procedure.

*This information was acquired from www.blog.medicarerights.org.


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