New Jersey Individual Mandate 2020

Learn whether you must have health coverage under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in New Jersey.


Do I Have to Get Health Insurance in New Jersey?


New Jersey law requires you to have health insurance.

Even though the federal requirement to have health insurance went away in January 2019, New Jersey passed its own law imposing a state tax penalty for people who live the state. 

To avoid the New Jersey tax penalty, you must have what the state considers "minimal essential coverage" or prove your eligibility for an exemption.

What qualifies as minimal essential coverage in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, minimal essential coverage is the same under state law as it is under the federal Affordable Care Act. That means if you have any of the following types of health coverage, you have minimal essential coverage and you won’t have to pay a penalty:

  • an individual insurance plan that meets the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, whether purchased on your own or through, the exchange serving New Jersey
  • a plan (including COBRA or a retiree plan) provided by your employer
  • Medicare, Medicaid, or coverage under the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
  • TRICARE (coverage from the U.S. military)
  • coverage under a veterans health care program 
  • coverage through the Peace Corps.

If you aren’t sure whether your current plan qualifies, talk to the plan provider.

What doesn't qualify as minimal essential coverage?

Some types of health plans don’t meet the requirements for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. These include vision insurance, dental insurance, workers’ compensation, coverage that is limited to a specific condition, short-term plans, and plans that offer only discounted medical services.

Am I exempt from the New Jersey individual mandate?

When New Jersey adopted its health insurance requirement, it carried over the coverage exemptions that originally existed in the Affordable Care Act, with a few adjustments. Under these rules, you don't have to pay the penalty if:

  • You are not required to file a New Jersey income tax return.
  • You prove that you can’t afford coverage -- that is, premiums for a New Jersey "bronze" policy cost more than about 8% of your earnings.
  • You don’t have to file a state income tax return because your income is too low.
  • You are a nonresident taxpayer.
  • You are a member of a federally recognized Indian tribe.
  • You are a member of a health care sharing ministry.
  • You are a member of a recognized religion that objects to health insurance.
  • You are in the United States illegally.
  • You are incarcerated.

You may also claim an exemption if you can show that obtaining coverage would subject you to serious financial hardship.

Learn More

For more information about the New Jersey health insurance requirement, including penalty amounts and how to claim an exemption if you qualify, see the New Jersey Health Insurance Mandate pages on the website of the New Jersey Treasury. 

To find out how to obtain coverage, see How to Sign Up for Obamacare in New Jersey.

For information about costs, see How Much Does Obamacare Cost in New Jersey?

You may also be interested in:


More New Jersey info from

Home Page