If you can afford health insurance but choose not to buy it, you must pay a fee called the individual shared responsibility payment. (The fee is sometimes called the “penalty,” “fine,” or “individual mandate.”)
- You owe the fee for any month you, your spouse, or your tax dependents don’t have health insurance that qualifies as minimum essential coverage.
- You pay the fee when you file your federal tax return for the year you don’t have coverage.
- In some cases, you may qualify for a health coverage exemption from the requirement to have insurance. If you qualify, you won’t have to pay the fee.
The fee for not having health insurance in 2016
The fee is calculated 2 different ways – as a percentage of your household income, and per person. You’ll pay whichever is higher.
Percentage of income
- 2.5% of household income
- Maximum: Total yearly premium for the national average price of a Bronze plan sold through the Marketplace
- $695 per adult
- $347.50 per child under 18
- Maximum: $2,085
Paying the fee
- Using the percentage method, only the part of your household income that’s above the yearly tax filing threshold ($10,150 for individuals, $20,300 for couples filing jointly in 2014, the most recent year available) is counted.
- Using the per-person method, you pay only for people in your household who don’t have insurance coverage.
- If you have coverage for part of the year, the fee 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.
You pay the fee when you file your federal tax return for the year you don’t have coverage.