What States Require Health Insurance?
Do you have to have healthcare insurance? The Affordable Care Act (ACA), signed into law in 2010, was intended to make health insurance coverage more affordable for the residents of the United States through the creation of tax subsidies, while also opening up Medicaid eligibility to more low-income individuals and households. The ACA effectively made having health insurance compulsory; not having it meant you would suffer a tax penalty.
What is the penalty for not having health insurance now? If you do not have it, does the rule still apply? Here’s what you require to know about mandatory health insurance coverage.
Affordable Care Act’s Coverage Mandate
Under the ACA, also known as Obamacare, Americans who were not otherwise qualified for an exemption were obligated to have health insurance coverage for themselves and their families. Failure to have minimum health cover triggered a tax penalty; at the same time, the ACA allowed for the creation of a premium tax credit to help Americans offset some of the cost of getting health insurance through the healthcare marketplace.
This rule changed in January 2019, when the tax penalty mandate for health insurance was removed. While the ACA technically still exists, people who opt not to maintain health insurance for themselves or their family members in 2019 and beyond would not be penalized at tax time. It’s projected that as many as four million Americans will opt not to have health insurance coverage this year due to the penalty being eliminated.
State-Imposed Rules on Health Insurance Coverage
While the federal government no longer necessitates you to have health insurance, there are a handful of states considering individual mandate on the books concerning coverage or are trying to pass laws to make health insurance mandatory.
The states that need or have laws set to take effect that will require coverage include:
- New Jersey
Washington, D.C., also necessitates residents to buy health insurance. Other states—as well as Connecticut, Maryland, Hawaii, and Rhode Island—have also attempted to pass legislation that would make health insurance mandatory for their inhabitant. In states where health insurance is mandatory, the rules for getting and maintaining coverage are the same as those under the ACA, with coverage available through state-run health insurance marketplaces.
Choices for Health Insurance Coverage
Before going without health insurance, Nicholson assessed all of her choices, which included being added to her husband’s plan and enrolling in a healthcare cost-sharing program. Those are also things you might contemplate if you are without health insurance or thinking about canceling your plan because coverage is no longer mandatory.
You may consider short-term health insurance or catastrophic care policies, but these have their disadvantages, in terms of what’s covered and who’s qualified. Applying for Medicaid may also be a choice, but whether you qualify is dependent on your income and family size. Every state has different guidelines concerning the income and asset thresholds allowed for eligibility for Medicaid coverage.
Not being mandated by federal law to have health insurance coverage does not mean you don’t want it. If you don’t have health insurance, take time to research coverage choices to determine which is the best fit for your healthcare requirements and budget.
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