2020 Obamacare Subsidy Chart and Calculator

Healthcare Writer

Updated on: September 13th, 2020

Reviewed by Louise Norris

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The income amounts to get 2020 Obamacare subsidies are based on – but higher than – last year’s federal poverty level (FPL). These discounts on your monthly health insurance payment are also known as premium tax credits.

What’s the Minimum Income for 2020 Obamacare Subsidies?

To get Obamacare subsidies in 2020, your household must earn (in 2020) at least 100% of the 2019 federal poverty level. Subsidy eligibility is based on your income for the year you’re going to have coverage — which means you have to project it in advance since you’re generally applying for coverage before the year starts. But it’s compared with the poverty level guidelines from the year before the coverage starts because open enrollment takes place before the start of the year and the federal poverty level numbers for each year aren’t published until open enrollment for that year’s coverage has already ended.

2020 Total Household Income for Minimum ACA Subsidy

Household SizeHousehold Income
1 person$12,490
2 people$16,910
3 people$21,330
4 people$25,750
5 people$30,170
6 people$34,590
7 people$39,010
8 people$43,430
Households with more than 8 people should add $4,420 per person.

In most states, those who make under 139% of the federal poverty level are offered Medicaid instead of subsidies.

Alaska and Hawaii are unique states with higher income guidelines – those can be found here.

2020 Obamacare Subsidies Income Calculator

Different families get different subsidies. Use our Affordable Care Act plan search below to automatically find premium tax credit.

What’s the Maximum Income for 2020 Obamacare Subsidies?

To get Obamacare subsidies, your household cannot make more than 400% of the federal poverty level. The cutoff amounts for 2020 plans are:

2020 Total Household Income for Maximum ACA Subsidy

Household SizeHousehold Income
1 person$49,960
2 people$67,640
3 people$85,320
4 people$103,000
5 people$120,680
6 people$138,360
7 people$156,040
8 people$173,720

Alaska and Hawaii are unique states with higher income guidelines – those can be found here.

obacamare subsidy image

What Year Are These Subsidies For?

This information – and these household income amounts – apply to health insurance plans that cover you and your family during 2020. Affordable Care Act subsidies are still available, despite the ongoing debate over the law in Washington. New federal poverty level income levels are released annually in January. Those numbers are used immediately to determine Medicaid and CHIP eligibility, and in November, when open enrollment begins, they’ll be used to determine eligibility for premium subsidies for the coming year.

What Counts As Income?

The right income to submit is your modified adjusted gross income (basically, the income you report on your tax return, with a few tweaks).

What If You Earn Too Much or Too Little to Qualify for Subsidies?

You can still “get Obamacare” no matter how much you make per year. You simply won’t be eligible for monthly premium discounts if your income is out of the subsidy range.

Minimum and maximum levels change every year, based on how the poverty level numbers change. For example, a household of four had to earn no more than $94,200 to qualify for premium subsidies in 2014, whereas a household of four will be able to earn up to $104,800 in 2021 and still qualify for subsidies. 

Less Than 100% of FPL: If your household makes less than 100% of the federal poverty level, you don’t qualify for premium tax credits (“Obamacare subsidies”). However, you’re probably eligible for Medicaid, depending on your state’s rules. To learn more, it’s important to apply directly to your state’s Medicaid program.

aca subsidies

More Than 400% of FPL: If your household makes more than 400% of the federal poverty level, you can also consider off-Marketplace insurance on sites like HealthCareInsider.com. These plans are generally identical to subsidy-eligible plans, generally cost the same, and follow ACA rules. But depending on the area, you may find that different insurers offer plans outside the exchange, giving you more options from which to choose.

What About Cost-Sharing Reductions (CSRs)?

Health insurance providers must give additional discounts on subsidy-eligible silver plans to members earning between 100% and 250% of the federal poverty level. These discounts, called cost-sharing reductions, reduce the cost of out-of-pocket healthcare charges for things like specialists and medication. CSRs are not available on bronze, gold or platinum plans. More than 50% of exchange enrollees get CSR every year. 

Cost-sharing subsidy guidelines are set by the government, so the out-of-pocket limits and actuarial value of these plans are standardized based on the applicant’s income. But insurers have flexibility in terms of designing the plans within those guidelines. As a result, the various silver plans available to you will differ from one insurer to another, even if you’re eligible for cost-sharing reductions.

How Much Healthcare Can Subsidies Cover?

According to healthcare analysts, about 96% of counties had bronze plans available with $0 monthly premiums,1 after subsidies (in 2020, for a 40-year-old making 160% of the federal poverty level), and about 87% of enrollees get premium subsidies every year.2

You’ll be asked to cover some portion of your medical care once you use your health plan. However, subsidies could make your plan of choice free to join.

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Article Sources
  1. Sloan, Chris and Neil Rosacker. “Free Exchange Plan Options Are Available to Many Low-Income Consumers for 2020.” Avalere Health, October 31, 2019 (accessed February 2020).

  2. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “First Half of 2019 Average Effectuated Enrollment Data.” cms.gov (accessed February 2020).