Modified Adjusted Gross Income under the Affordable Care Act
Updated July 2019
Under the Affordable Care Act, eligibility for income-based Medicaid1 and subsidized health insurance through the Marketplaces is calculated using a household’s Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI). The Affordable Care Act definition of MAGI under the Internal Revenue Code2 and federal Medicaid regulations3 is shown below. For most individuals who apply for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, MAGI is equal to Adjusted Gross Income. This document summarizes relevant federal regulations; it is not personalized tax or legal advice. Consult the Health Insurance Marketplace for your state, your local Medicaid agency, or a legal or tax advisor for assistance in determining your MAGI.
Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) =
Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)
Line 4 on a Form 1040EZ
Line 21 on a Form 1040A
Line 37 on a Form 1040
- Wages, salaries, tips, etc.
- Taxable interest
- Taxable amount of pension, annuity or IRA distributions and Social Security benefits4
- Business income, farm income, capital gain, other gains (or loss)
- Unemployment compensation
- Ordinary dividends
- Alimony received
- Rental real estate, royalties, partnerships, S-corporations, trusts, etc.
- Taxable refunds, credits, or offsets of state and local income taxes
- Other income
- Certain self-employed expenses5
- Student loan interest deduction
- Educator expenses
- IRA deduction (traditional IRAs)
- Moving expenses for active members of the military
- Penalty on early withdrawal of savings
- Health savings account deduction
- Alimony paid
- Domestic production activities deduction
- Certain business expenses of reservists, performing artists, and fee-basis government officials
- Educator expenses
Note: Check the IRS website for detailed requirements for the income and deduction categories above. Do not include Veterans’ disability payments, workers’ compensation or child support received. Pre-tax contributions, such as those for child care, commuting, employer-sponsored health insurance, flexible spending accounts and retirement plans such as 401(k) and403(b), are not included in AGI but are not listed above because they are already subtracted out of W-2 wages and salaries.
Add back certain income
- Non-taxable Social Security benefits4 (Line 20a minus 20b on a Form 1040)
- Tax-exempt interest (Line on 8b on a Form 1040)
- Foreign earned income & housing expenses for Americans living abroad (Form 2555)
For Medicaid eligibility
Exclude from income
- Certain American Indian and Alaska Native income derived from distributions, payments, ownership interests, real property usage rights, and student financial assistance
- Medicaid eligibility is generally based on MAGI for parents and childless adults under age 65, children and pregnant women, but not for individuals eligible on the basis of being aged, blind, or disabled.
- 26 CFR 1.36B-1(e)(2)
- 42 CFR 435.603(e)
- “Social Security benefits” includes disability payments (SSDI), but does not include Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which should be excluded.
- Deductible part of self-employment tax; SEP, SIMPLE, and qualified plans; health insurance deduction. See IRS Publication 974 for further details about calculating the deduction for tax households that also receive ACA premium tax credits.
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