Hey, You! Start Learning the US Federal Poverty Guidelines!

hcNew Orleans  There are two more weeks on the countdown to your chance to finally get health care coverage for you and your family, if you don’t have it, or to potentially get some help in paying for it, if you do have it, and my bet is many of you are still clueless about it.   The simplest clue I can tell you is to get ready to jump on the internet now or then at www.healthcare.gov, or reach out to any navigators as soon as they are funded and cooking.

            Most of you are still thinking, hey, dude, I wish this would give me a hand, but I’m working, or I probably make too much, or whatever, so it’s probably not for me.  Ok, maybe so, but you could be way wrong!   Look at the chart below though.  If you make less than four times the Federal Poverty Level and no one in your household, as defined for tax purposes, receives an offer of affordable coverage from an employer, you may very darn likely qualify for a subsidy from the Health Exchange Marketplace.

            400% of the Federal Poverty Level is a lot of money for a lot of households (see chart below)!   Footloose and fancy free single payer, then it’s less than $46000 per year or someone making more than $20 per hour.   Got a partner and a couple of kids for a family of four, then it’s less than $94,000 per year, and that’s a pretty good wallop of money, too, but you could still get some help.  You and partner just got married or are filing together, then for the two of you, $62040 per year.  Are you starting to follow me now?

 Household Size

 100%

 133%

 150%

200% 

 300%

400% 

 1

$11,490

$15,282

$17,235

$22,980

$34,470

$45,960

 2

15,510

 20,628

23,265

  31,020

46,530

62,040

 3

19,530

 25,975

29,295

  39,060

58,590

78,120

 4

23,550

 31,322

35,325

  47,100

70,650

94,200

 5

27,570

 36,668

41,355

  55,140

82,710

110,280

 6

31,590

 42,015

47,385

  63,180

94,770

126,360

 7

35,610

 47,361

53,415

  71,220

106,830

142,440

 8

39,630

 52,708

59,445

  79,260

118,890

158,520

 For each additional person, add

$4,020

 $5,347

$6,030

  $8,040

$12,060

$16,080

(chart from FamiliesUSA)

            In Citizen Wealth, I argued that we needed a national campaign to achieve maximum eligible participation, meaning that we achieve income security for families by making sure that they get the full benefit of all local, state, and federal programs that have been created to help us.   This is a golden opportunity to make sure people “vote with their feet” by proving how much we want health protection by making sure we get on now, and get it right later.   That’s the big fight politically, and the big prize for all of us personally.

I’m not saying it won’t be confusing.   There will be some surprises in store no doubt.   One of the big surprises though may be that you get solid support in paying the bill and actual health care coverage for you and your family.   You may not like the fact that it says “poverty” at the top of the guidelines, but you’ll like the fact that you have some help on the way.

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