2019 exemptions & catastrophic coverage

Starting with the 2019 plan year (for which you’ll file taxes in April 2020), the Shared Responsibility Payment no longer applies. (The payment is sometimes known as the health care “mandate” or “penalty.”) If you don’t have coverage during 2019 or later, you don’t need an exemption in order to avoid the penalty.

If you’re 30 or older and want to enroll in a “Catastrophic” plan for 2019, you must claim a hardship exemption to qualify. A Catastrophic health plan offers lower-priced coverage that mainly protects you from high medical costs if you get seriously hurt or injured. Learn more about Catastrophic plans.

Catastrophic plans & hardship exemptions starting in 2019

  • If you’re under 30, you can enroll in a Catastrophic plan whether you have an exemption or not.
  • If you’re 30 or older, you can enroll in a Catastrophic health plan only if you qualify for a hardship exemption (this includes affordability exemptions).
  • To enroll in a Catastrophic plan if you’re 30 or older, you must submit a hardship or affordability exemption application and get an exemption certificate number.
  • You’ll find out the Catastrophic plans available to you when you apply online at HealthCare.gov or with the help of a Call Center representative.

Need a hardship exemption form?

Get instructions for downloading the hardship exemption form and a link to the form itself.

Hardship exemptions

Following are all hardship exemptions, with links to details, forms, and instructions.

  1. You were homeless
  2. You were evicted or were facing eviction or foreclosure
  3. You received a shut-off notice from a utility company
  4. You experienced domestic violence
  5. You experienced the death of a 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
  8. You had medical expenses you couldn’t pay 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. You claim a child as a tax dependent who’s been denied coverage for Medicaid and CHIP for 2018, and another person is required by court order to give medical support to the child. In this case you don’t have to pay the penalty for the child.
  11. 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 in 2018
  12. You were determined ineligible for Medicaid because your state didn’t expand eligibility for Medicaid in 2019 under the Affordable Care Act
  13. The exemption for "grandfathered" individual insurance plans is no longer available for 2017 and later
  14. You had another hardship. If you experienced another hardship obtaining health insurance, use this form to describe your hardship and apply for an exemption.