Do You Have to Get Obamacare?
The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) requires everyone to have health insurance. (This requirement took effect on March 31, 2014.) If you don't enroll in a health insurance plan, and you aren't exempt under the law, you may have to pay a tax penalty when you file your federal income tax return.
Kinds of Coverage
If you have any of the following types of health coverage, you won’t have to pay a penalty:
- an individual insurance plan, bought on your own or through the online exchange serving your state
- 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
Some health plans don’t meet the requirements for coverage under the law. These include vision insurance, dental insurance, workers’ compensation, coverage that is limited to a specific condition, and plans that offer only discounted medical services. If you aren’t sure whether your current plan qualifies, talk to the plan provider.
Exemptions From the Coverage Requirement
Even if you don’t have insurance, you won’t have to pay a penalty if you qualify for any of these exemptions:
- You are uninsured for fewer than three months of the year.
- You prove that you can’t afford coverage -- that is, premiums for a "bronze" policy cost more than 8% of your earnings.
- Your income is too low to require you to file a federal income tax return.
- You are a member of a federally recognized Indian tribe.
- You are a member of a health care sharing ministry.
- You belong to a recognized religion that objects to health insurance.
- You are in the United States illegally.
- You are incarcerated.
There may be other exemptions as well, and you can apply for more than one. To learn more, click on your state below.