Evaluating ACA Subsidies: A Guide for Married Filers

Understanding Household Income for ACA Eligibility

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides subsidies to help low- and moderate-income individuals and families afford health insurance. To qualify for subsidies, applicants must meet specific income requirements. For married couples, household income is used to determine eligibility.

Household Income Definition: Household income includes the combined income of both spouses. This includes wages, salaries, self-employment income, investment income, and certain other types of income.

Impact of Filing Status on ACA Subsidies

Filing taxes separately does not affect household income calculations for ACA purposes. The IRS states that married couples must file jointly to be eligible for subsidies. Filing separately may result in disqualification, even if one spouse has a low income.

Income Limits for ACA Subsidies

For 2023, the income limits to qualify for ACA subsidies are as follows:

– For households with one person: Up to $59,600
– For households with two people: Up to $80,600
– For households with three people: Up to $101,800
– For households with four people: Up to $123,000

MAGI Considerations: The ACA uses a specific definition of income called Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) to determine eligibility. MAGI is generally similar to your AGI from your tax return, but it includes certain additional types of income.

Calculating Your ACA Subsidy

To estimate your potential ACA subsidy, visit HealthCare.gov or contact a licensed health insurance agent. The subsidy calculation is based on your household income and the cost of health insurance in your area.

Evaluating Your Options

If you are considering switching to ACA health insurance, it is important to compare the costs and benefits of different plans. Consider factors such as:

– Monthly premiums
– Deductibles and out-of-pocket costs
– Network of providers
– Coverage for your specific health needs


Understanding the income requirements for ACA subsidies is crucial for married couples. Filing separately can disqualify you from subsidies, even if one spouse has a low income. By considering household income and using MAGI calculations, individuals can determine their eligibility for ACA subsidies and make informed decisions about their health insurance coverage.

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