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Are there any exemptions to the individual mandate?


Yes. The ACA lists the following who aren't required to pay a penalty if they don't have health insurance coverage:

  • Individuals and families whose income is low enough that they don't need to file federal income tax returns,
  • People who would pay 8% or more of the income for coverage, after taking premium tax credits and employer contributions into account,
  • Individuals who have been uninsured for less than three months,
  • People who are incarcerated,
  • Individuals who aren't lawfully present in the country,
  • Members of federally recognized American Indian tribes and individuals who are not members of federally recognized American Indian tribes who can get services through an Indian health care provider,
  • People who don't have coverage because they belong to a religious group that objects to insurance coverage,
  • People who are members of a health care sharing ministry, and
  • People who experience hardship in obtaining coverage.

The Kaiser Family Foundation has put together a flowchart to help consumers understand who must have insurance. There's more information about who doesn't have to pay a penalty if they don't have health insurance in the IRS FAQ.

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