Fees & exemptions

2015 tax year exemptions from the fee for not having health coverage

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 different kinds of exemptions. Some you claim on your federal tax return. Others, including hardship exemptions, you apply for with a paper application.

If you’re covered by a plan that qualifies as “minimum essential coverage” you don’t need to pay the fee or get an exemption.

Find exemptions that may work for you

Select the button below. We’ll ask you a few questions and show you all health coverage exemptions that may apply to you.

2015 health coverage exemptions, forms, and instructions

Below are all exemptions for the 2015 tax year. Follow the links below for details, forms, and instructions.

If you’re still interested in exemptions for the 2014 tax year, visit our 2014 exemptions page.

Income-related exemptions

Health coverage-related exemptions

Group membership exemptions

Other exemptions

2015 hardship exemptions and forms

In addition to the exemptions above, you may qualify for a “hardship” exemption for 2015. 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:

  1. You were homeless
  2. You were evicted in the past 6 months or were facing eviction or foreclosure
  3. You received a shut-off notice from a utility company
  4. You recently experienced domestic violence
  5. You recently experienced the death of a close family member
  6. You experienced a fire, flood, or other natural or human-caused disaster that caused substantial damage to your property
  7. You filed for bankruptcy in the last 6 months
  8. You had medical expenses you couldn’t pay in the last 24 months that resulted in substantial debt
  9. You experienced unexpected increases in necessary expenses due to caring for an ill, disabled, or aging family member
  10. As a result of an eligibility appeals decision, you’re eligible for enrollment in a qualified health plan (QHP) through the Marketplace, lower costs on your monthly premiums, or cost-sharing reductions for a time period when you weren’t enrolled in a QHP through the Marketplace
  11. You were determined ineligible for Medicaid because your state didn’t expand eligibility for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act
  12. Your individual insurance plan was cancelled and you believe other Marketplace plans are unaffordable
  13. If you experienced another hardship obtaining health insurance, use this form to apply for an exemption with the Marketplace (PDF)

More details about hardship exemptions

How long hardship exemptions last

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, including up to a full calendar year.

  • For people ineligible for Medicaid only because a state hasn’t expanded Medicaid coverage, the hardship exemption will be granted for the whole calendar year.
  • For people eligible for Indian Health Services, the hardship exemption lasts as long as you remain eligible.
  • For people under 21 who are eligible for an exemption due to religious conscience, you’ll need to reapply if you remain a member when you turn 21.
Exemptions if you’re unemployed

There’s no exemption based only on employment status. But several exemptions apply to people with no or very little income.

To find out if you may qualify for an exemption, read the full list on this page.

Or just answer a few questions and we’ll match you with exemptions you may qualify for.

Hardship exemptions and catastrophic coverage

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 from 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.