Updated: 2020-07-28 by
Rhode Island law requires you to have health insurance in 2021.
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. These requirements are also called "health insurance mandates" or "individual mandates."
To avoid the Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island?
In Rhode Island, 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:
- a plan provided by your employer (including COBRA, self-insured plans, or retiree coverage)
- a health plan sold on the individual market, including a qualified health plan offered Health Source RI, catastrophic coverage, or a qualifying student health plan
- Medicare, Medicaid, or coverage under the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
- TRICARE (coverage from the U.S. military)
- certain types of veterans health coverage administered by the Veterans Administration
- coverage through the Peace Corps
- coverage under the Department of Defense Non-appropriated Fund Health Benefit Program
- refugee Medical Assistance supported by the Administration for Children and Families
- coverage under an expatriate health plan
- self-funded health coverage offered to students by universities, if approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or
- other coverage recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services as minimum essential coverage.
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 that is limited to a specific condition, short-term plans (these are not currently sold in Rhode Island), accident or liability coverage, and plans that offer only discounted medical services.
Am I exempt from the Rhode Island health insurance mandate?
You may not be required to obtain health coverage if you qualify for one of the following Rhode Island exemptions:
- you experienced a hardship that prevented you from getting covered
- you're a member of a recognize religious group
- you couldn't get coverage that Health Source RI considers affordable based on your estimated household income
- you were covered by a Medicaid program that doesn't qualify as minimum essential coverage
- you were only a part-time resident of Rhode Island
- you are a member of a health care sharing ministry
- you are a member of a federally recognized Indian tribe
- you were incarcerated
- a new child became part of your household by birth or adoption, or
- a member of your household died during the year.
For more information, and to learn how to apply for an exemption, see "Exemptions" on the Health Source RI Health Insurance Mandate page.
To learn more about Rhode Island's health insurance requirement, visit Health Source RI.
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?
You may also be interested in:
Where to go in Rhode Island to get health plans under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and how to get help with the application process.
Essential facts about the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) in Rhode Island, including whether you must get health insurance, how much it will cost, and how you can save money.
The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) tax penalty has been set to zero, but some states have enacted their own health insurance requirements.