Am I required to have health insurance?

Starting in 2019, there is no requirement for individuals to have a Qualified Health Plan or pay a penalty. However, for 2018, the penalty remains the law. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, taxpayers must continue to report having minimum essential health insurance coverage, qualify for an exemption, or pay the individual shared responsibility payment for tax year 2018. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is responsible for enforcing this requirement. For individuals who fail to have insurance in 2018, the penalty will be the greater of $695 or 2.5% of your income. Certain exemptions from this general rule may apply. For more information about whether you might qualify for an exemption, please visit, or speak with your tax professional. Among other qualifying exemptions, listed below are examples of certain “hardship exemptions” for which you might qualify:

  • You were homeless.
  • You were evicted in the past 6 months or were facing eviction or foreclosure.
  • You received a shut-off notice from a utility company.
  • You recently experienced domestic violence.
  • You recently experienced the death of a close family member.
  • You experienced a fire, flood, or other natural or human-caused disaster that caused substantial damage to your property.
  • You filed for bankruptcy in the last 6 months.
  • You had medical expenses you couldn’t pay in the last 24 months, that resulted in substantial debt.
  • You experienced unexpected increases in necessary expenses due to caring for an ill, disabled, or aging family member.
  • You expect to claim a child as a tax dependent who’s been denied coverage in Medicaid and CHIP, and another person is required by court order to give medical support to the child.
  • As a result of an eligibility appeals decision, you’re eligible for enrollment in a qualified health plan (QHP) through the Marketplace, lower costs on your monthly premiums, or cost-sharing reductions for a time period when you weren’t enrolled in a QHP through the Marketplace.
  • You were determined ineligible for Medicaid because your state didn?t expand eligibility for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Your individual market coverage was cancelled, and you consider the other plans are unaffordable.