For plan years through 2018, to avoid the penalty for not having insurance you must be enrolled in qualifying health coverage (sometimes called "minimum essential coverage").
Starting with the 2019 plan year (for which you’ll file taxes in April 2020), the fee no longer applies.
See a more detailed list of types of plans that do and don’t count as qualifying health coverage from the IRS.
Some products that help pay for medical services don't qualify. If you have only this kind of product, you may have to pay the fee for 2018 plans and earlier. Examples include:
The penalty is 1/12 of the annual amount for each month you or your tax dependents don’t have coverage. If you’re uncovered only 1 or 2 months, you don’t have to pay the fee at all. Learn about the “short gap” exemption for the 2018 plan year.
Any plan that meets the standards for qualifying health coverage counts under the health care law. If it does, you won't have to pay the fee when you file taxes in April 2019.
You can buy qualifying health coverage directly from an insurance company, from an online seller, or through an agent or broker.
Before you buy, be sure to find out if the plan you’re interested in qualifies.