Are there exemptions to the health care penalty? What are they?

Yes. For the 2018 tax year, you can claim a hardship exemption if you experienced circumstances that prevented you from getting coverage.  You can claim this exemption directly on your federal tax return, by checking the box on Form 1040, when you file next spring.  You will not be required to provide documentation of your hardship when you file, though you should keep any documentation for your records.

In addition, you may be eligible for an exemption if you:

  • Cannot afford coverage (defined as those who would pay more than 8.05 percent of their household income for the lowest cost bronze plan available to them through the Marketplace in 2018)
  • Are not a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national, or a resident alien lawfully present in the U.S.
  • Had a gap in coverage for less than 3 consecutive months during the year
  • Won’t file a tax return because your income is below the tax filing threshold (For the 2018 tax year, the filing threshold is $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for married persons filing a joint return)
  • Are unable to qualify for Medicaid because your state has chosen not to expand the program
  • Participate in a health care sharing ministry or are a member of a recognized religious sect with objections to health insurance
  • Are a member of a federally recognized Indian tribe
  • Are incarcerated

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