Under the Affordable Care Act, most people are required to have health insurance coverage by the end of the open enrollment period closing on March 31, 2014. Those who do not have health insurance coverage at that time will have to pay a fine known as the individual shared responsibility payment. The fine in 2014 is 1% of your yearly income, or $95 per person for the year, whichever is higher. The fine increases every year. In 2016 it will be 2.5% of income or $695 per person, whichever is higher.
You can avoid paying the individual shared responsibility payment by enrolling in health insurance, but people with extremely low incomes and those who are homeless can qualify for an exemption
Exemptions from the individual responsibility payment can be granted when:
- The lowest-priced coverage would be more than 8% of your household income
- You have a gap in coverage for fewer than three consecutive months of the year
- Your income is low enough that you do not have to file a tax return
- You are a member of certain exempted organizations (such as a federally recognized tribe, or a health care sharing ministry)
Additionally, there are specific situations which qualify an individual for a hardship exemption, which include:
- Eviction or foreclosure within the past six months
- Receiving a shut-off notice from a utility company
- Recently experienced domestic violence
- You experienced unexpected increases in necessary expenses in order to care for an ill, disabled or aging family member
- Recent death of a close family member
- Experiencing a fire, flood, or other disaster that caused damage to your property
- Having medical expenses you were unable to pay in the last 24 months
- You filed for bankruptcy in the last six months
- Your state did not expand Medicaid, leaving you ineligible for coverage
To see the full list of hardship exemptions and apply for an exemption visit the Exemption page on HealthCare.gov.
For more information on the individual shared responsibility payment, including how the fee will be collected visit the IRS’s Individual Shared Responsibility Page.
For more information on the ACA – including state specific surveillance information – visit HUD’s OneCPD Affordable Care Act website