Most hospitals calculate if a patient is eligible for financial assistance based on household size and income. But counting who is in a household can sometimes be tricky. Learn how to determine your official household size.
What is a household?
Hospitals generally consider a patient’s household to be everyone who was on the same tax filing as the patient in the prior year. If the household has changed since then (marriage, divorce, birth, death, etc.) the patient’s household should reflect the current household members
Examples when the patient is not claimed as a tax dependent
- Patient is Veronica, who lives alone and files taxes as a single person.
- Household includes: Veronica
- Patient is Patrick, a college student who lives with three roommates, sometimes relies on his parents for financial help, and files taxes as a single person.
- Household includes: Patrick
- Patient is Jordan, who lives at home with their parents, has a job, pays their own bills, and files taxes as a single person.
- Household includes: Jordan
- Patient is Marguerite who lives with her former spouse, Lilly. They live together to save money, but they recently legally separated. Last year they filed their taxes as married filing jointly, but Marguerite will be filing as a single person when this year’s taxes are due.
- Household includes: Marguerite
- Patient is Liz, a single parent with two children, Ricardo and Ana, who files taxes as a “qualified widow.”
- Household includes: Liz, Ricardo, and Ana
- Patient is Giselle, who lives in North Carolina where her family is, and she is married to James, who lives in South Dakota for his job. Their tax filing status is “married filing jointly.”
- Household includes: Giselle and James
- Patient is Mark who is married to Mia and they file their taxes using “married filing separately.” They have an adult daughter, Jade, who has special needs and is claimed as a dependent on Mia’s taxes each year.
- Household includes: Mark, Mia, and Jade
- Patient is Miguel, who is married to Daniel, and they each file their taxes using the tax status “married filing separately.”
- Household includes: Miguel and Daniel
Examples when the patient is claimed as a tax dependent
Patient is a minor (child)
- Patient is Tom, being raised by a single man, Leon. They share a house with Leon’s friends Sarah and Fred. Leon files taxes as head of household and claims Tom as a dependent.
- Household includes: Tom and Leon
- Patient is Vanessa who lives with her sibling, Alex; her mom, Delores; her mom’s partner, Rob; and Rob’s mother, Linda. Delores claims Alex and Vanessa on her taxes which she files as head of household.
- Household includes: Vanessa, Alex, and Delores
- Patient is Glenn who is being raised by his grandparents, Chuck and Mary. Chuck and Mary each file their taxes as married filing separately.
- Household includes: Glenn, Mary, and Chuck
Patient is an adult
- Patient is a college student, Katherine, living in California. Her mom, Julia, lives in Texas and claims Katherine as a dependent on her taxes, which she files as “head of household.”
- Household includes: Katherine and Julia
- Patient is an elderly man, Ed, who is claimed as a dependent on his son Mark’s tax filing. Mark’s taxes, which are filed as “married filing jointly,” also include his wife Jodi and their two small children, Caleb and Cody.
- Household includes: Ed, Mark, Jodi, Caleb, Cody