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Tag: uninsured

I lost coverage March 15 and didn’t get new coverage until April 1. Am I considered uninsured for the month of March because I lacked coverage for part of the month?

No, if you are covered even one day during a month, you are considered to be insured for that month. Similarly, a person who is considered exempt from the individual responsibility requirement for even one day during a month is considered exempt for that month.

I had several short coverage gaps in a year – I was uninsured in March, then again in August. Since the total gap was less than 3 months, am I exempt from the penalty?

The rule for short coverage gaps is that only the first short coverage gap in a year will be recognized. You wouldn’t be penalized for lacking coverage in March, but you may owe a penalty for your second gap in coverage in August if you don’t otherwise qualify for an exemption during that period.

However for 2018, if you experienced hardship that prevented you from getting coverage, you can claim a hardship exemption directly on your 2018 federal income tax return.

I’m uninsured. Am I required to get health care?

Congress eliminated the federal tax penalty for not having health insurance, effective January 1, 2019.

For 2018, everyone is required to have health insurance coverage – or more precisely, “minimum essential coverage” – or else pay a tax penalty, unless they qualify for an exemption. This requirement is called the individual responsibility requirement, or sometimes called the individual mandate.

While the federal tax penalty still applies for 2018, recent changes will make it easier for people to claim a hardship exemption, and so owe no penalty, when they file their 2018 federal income tax return.

Several states have adopted individual mandates with state tax penalties for not having health insurance.  These include Massachusetts, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia, effective for the 2019 calendar year.  Vermont will impose a tax penalty for not having coverage starting in 2020.  Other states are considering individual mandates; check with your tax adviser for more information.

Regardless of the penalty, it is important to have health coverage if you can.  Health insurance continues to be offered during annual Open Enrollment periods.  If you don’t sign up during Open Enrollment, you might have to wait up to one year until your next opportunity to enroll.