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Who Won’t Have to Pay for Insurance or a Penalty?


If you answer yes to any of these questions, you are exempt.  That means you don’t have to buy health insurance and you won’t have to pay a penalty either.

Do you make so little money that you don’t have to file taxes?

For 2013, if you earn less than $10,000 you don’t have to file a tax return.  For a family you don’t have to file a tax return if you made less than $20,000.

Do you get help paying for your health care from one of these?

  • Medicare, the government health insurance program for people age 65 or older
  • Medicaid or CHIP, health insurance programs for lower-income adults and children
  • A veteran’s health plan
  • TRICARE, an insurance program for members of the military, retirees and their families

If you are one of the below, you do not have to pay for health insurance.

  • American Indian
  • Undocumented immigrant
  • Prisoner
  • Your religion doesn’t believe in health insurance
  • An American who is living abroad for more than one year

Will you have to pay more than 8% of your income for health insurance?

If you are a single adult whose employer does not offer insurance and who cannot find a health plan from their state’s Exchange, with a monthly premium amount that is less than 8% of your total monthly earnings, you are exempt.  That means you do not have to buy insurance or pay a penalty.  This does not apply to family incomes.

To figure this out, look at your pay stub for the last month—a few months if the amount you

get varies.  Multiply that total by 0.08%.  That is 8% of your income.

  • Go through the process when you can log on to your state’s Exchange.  You’ll select your family size.  And you may enter how much money you make a year or answer questions about how much you make.
  • Pick a low-cost plan to see now much the yearly premium is.  Look to see if they offer any bronze-level plans, because these have the lowest monthly payments.  If you are younger than 30, you can look at a catastrophic plan, which tends to have the lowest monthly premium.
  • Use your state’s calculator to see how much the premium is after any available subsidies from the government.
  • If the monthly premium amount is more than what you calculated as 8% of your monthly income, you are exempt.
  • If the premium amount is less than what you calculated, you need to get insurance.  If you don’t get it, you’ll have to pay a penalty.

Posted October 31, 2013 by Susan D. Krohn