Minimum essential coverage


Must all Americans have minimum coverage?

Beginning in 2014, all adults will be asked to obtain health insurance coverage. Any person who chooses not to obtain health insurance coverage—through their employer or by purchasing on the Marketplace—and does not meet an exception will be required to pay a yearly penalty fee.

What is the penalty fee for people that forego insurance and are not exempt from paying the fee?


Can anyone be exempt from obtaining coverage or paying the penalty fee?

Several groups are exempt from the penalty including:

  • Individuals whose annual contribution for coverage exceeds a set percentage of the household income for the taxable year (8% in 2014)
  • Taxpayers with income below the tax filing threshold
  • Individuals who qualify for a hardship exemption
  • Individuals who have a gap in coverage (less than 3 months/year)
  • Members of religious groups that object to coverage on religious principles
  • Members of health care sharing ministries
  • Individuals in prison
  • Individuals who are not a U.S. citizen, national of the U.S. or an immigrant legally present in the U.S.
  • Members of Native American tribes

This website contains general information about legal and tax matters. The information is not legal or tax advice, and should not be treated as such. The general legal and tax information on this website is provided "as is" without any representations or warranties, express or implied. You must not rely on this information as an alternative to legal or tax advice from your attorney or other professional legal or tax services provider. If you have any specific questions about any legal or tax matter you should consult your attorney or other professional legal or tax services provider.

Information on this website is based on sources from Kaiser Family Foundation, the Federal Register, Congressional Research Service, Healthcare.gov, Whitehouse.gov and USChamber.com.