Do I Have to Get Health Insurance in New Jersey?

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


How To Sign Up for Obamacare in New Jersey
What New Jersey Residents Need to Know About Obamacare for 2022

Last Reviewed: Wed, Feb 2, 2022

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 a law imposing a state tax penalty for people who live in the state. 

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

What qualifies as minimum essential coverage in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, minimum essential coverage is the same under state law as the federal Affordable Care Act. That means if you have any of the following types of health coverage, you have minimum 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 GetCoveredNJ, 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)
  • a qualifying student health plan
  • TRICARE (coverage from the U.S. military)
  • coverage under a veterans health care program
  • coverage through the Peace Corps
  • coverage from the Department of Defense Nonappropriated Fund Health Benefits Program, or
  • Refugee Medical Assistance.

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

What doesn’t qualify as minimum 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 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?

You aren’t legally required to have health insurance if you qualify for an exemption under New Jersey’s law. Exemptions include having a very low income, having no affordable options for coverage, having a lapse in coverage of fewer than three months, or experiencing hardship. To see the complete list of available exemptions, see the Claim Exemptions page on the New Jersey Treasury Department website.

Learn More

For more information about the New Jersey health insurance requirement, including current 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?


Jurisdictional relevance: There are versions of this article for each State.
Selected State: New Jersey
How To Sign Up for Obamacare in New Jersey
What New Jersey Residents Need to Know About Obamacare for 2022