Most people must have qualifying health coverage or pay a fee (also known as the “penalty,” “fine,” “individual shared responsibility payment,” or “individual mandate”). But if you qualify for a health coverage exemption you don’t have to pay the fee.
There are a variety of exemptions, many of which you can claim on your federal tax return. There are also “hardship” exemptions that you must apply for with a paper application.
Select the button below. We’ll ask you a few questions and show you all health coverage exemptions that may apply to you.
Following is a list of exemptions, including hardship exemptions. For details on each exemption, including forms you need and how to apply, follow the links below.
In addition to the exemptions above, you may qualify for a “hardship” exemption. Hardships are life situations that keep you from getting health insurance.
To claim a hardship exemption, you must fill out a paper application and mail it in to the Marketplace. For details and forms, follow the links below.
Hardships that qualify you for exemptions include:
Hardship exemptions usually cover the month before the hardship, the months of the hardship, and the month after the hardship.
But in some cases the Marketplace may provide the exemption for additional months after the hardship, including up to a full calendar year.
You may have experienced a hardship that’s not on the list of 13 specific hardships above.
Providing a document that supports your claim of hardship will help the Marketplace process your application more quickly.
If you’re granted a hardship exemption, the notice includes information on catastrophic health plans. With a hardship exemption, you can buy a catastrophic plan no matter how old you are or what your income is.
A catastrophic plan offers lower-priced coverage that mainly protects you form high medical costs if you get seriously hurt or injured.
To buy catastrophic coverage with a hardship, you’ll provide your Exemption Certificate Number (ECN) to the insurance company selling the plan.
Note: If you get a hardship exemption, you don’t have to buy a catastrophic plan. It’s just an option available to you.
If you applied for an exemption by filling out a Marketplace exemption application, you may have an Exemption Certificate Number. If you do, you don’t need to apply again.
You’ll use your ECN to complete IRS Form 8965 when you file your federal income tax return. Learn more by downloading the documents below:
There are several exemptions from the fee that may apply to people who have no income or very low incomes. If you have an exemption, you don’t need to pay the fee for being uncovered.