Rhode Island Individual Mandate 2020

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


Do I Have to Get Health Insurance In Rhode Island?


Beginning January 1, 2020, Rhode Island law requires you to have health insurance.

Since the federal penalty for going without health insurance went away in 2019, a handful of states -- including Rhode Island -- have passed their own health insurance requirements. 

To avoid the Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island?

In Rhode Island, 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 Health Source RI, the exchange serving Rhode Island
  • 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, or
  • other types of coverage recognized by the Secretary of HHS as minimum essential coverage.

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 Rhode Island individual mandate?

Under the new law, HealthSource RI must establish a program to determine whether a person may claim an exemption based on religious conscience or financial hardship. As we post this article, those guidelines aren't yet available. We'll check for them periodically, but you can also seek an update by calling HealthSource RI at 1-855-840-4774.

Learn More

To learn more about Rhode Island's health insurance requirement, see Page 22 of this document from the Rhode Island Department of Revenue.

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

For information about costs, see How Much Does Obamacare Cost in Rhode Island?

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