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Is anyone exempt from the tax penalty?

Some people are exempt from the requirement to have health coverage and do not have to pay a fee (sometimes called "the penalty") even if they remain uninsured.

Depending on the reason for requesting an exemption, you will need to apply for an exemption when you file your federal taxes or by submitting an application to the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The federal government will decide who is exempt from the coverage requirement.

Currently, there are a number of situations where someone may be exempt from the tax penalty, including:

  1. Religious objections (that is, you are a member of a recognized religious sect with religious objections to insurance or elements of minimum essential coverage)
  2. Member of a recognized health care sharing ministry
  3. Incarcerated individuals
  4. Member of a federally recognized American Indian tribe (a non-member spouse can be exempt if they apply for a hardship exemption)
  5. You have faced certain hardships such as homelessness or foreclosure
  6. Income too low for you to be required to file a tax return
  7. Inability to afford health coverage (the cheapest Bronze plan option would cost more than eight percent of your household MAGI income)
  8. Short coverage gaps (fewer than 3 consecutive months), although if you do not become covered before the end of the 3-month period, you cannot take advantage of this exemption.
  9. Persons not lawfully present in the United States

Learn more about exemptions from the requirement to have health coverage and how to apply.