Find Affordable Health Insurance In Your Area!
Health insurance laws have been a big source of debate for the past several years, and as a result, they can be pretty confusing. In 2010, President Obama passed one of the most comprehensive pieces of healthcare legislation in US history, the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The Affordable Care Act included an individual mandate requiring every citizen to enroll in health insurance or face a tax penalty.
However, a large amount of resistance to the mandate led to many proposed changes to the Affordable Care Act, including some that followed through. This has left many wondering, “is health insurance required?” The answer is a bit more complicated than you may expect.
What Is The Individual Mandate?
The health insurance mandate began in 2014 when the Affordable Care Act went into effect. The individual mandate was created to push those who could afford health insurance into purchasing a plan. The goal of the mandate was to encourage more individuals to purchase health insurance, which would cover them in unforeseen circumstances and bring down the price of premiums for everyone. Under the original guidelines of the Affordable Care Act, anyone who did not have health insurance would be required to pay a fee to the government when they filed their tax return.
Despite the mandate being in place for several years, legislation was eventually passed to remove the individual mandate on a federal level as of 2019. This means that health insurance is no longer required on a federal level and that Americans without health insurance will not be charged a federal tax penalty. In the immediate aftermath, health insurance premiums began to rise in anticipation of fewer Americans enrolling in insurance coverage.
Which States Have Insurance Requirements in 2022?
In an effort to keep health insurance prices down, and ensure more people remain covered, some states decided to take power back into their own hands. Although there is no longer a federal health insurance mandate, some states decided to implement their own requirements. There are still several states that require residents to enroll in medical coverage as of 2022. Those states are:
- New Jersey
- Rhode Island
- Washington DC
If you are a resident of any of the mentioned states, and you forego health coverage, you will face a tax penalty unless you qualify for an exemption. Make sure to check back, because more states already have plans to follow suit. Other states considering making health insurance mandatory include Connecticut, Maryland, and Hawaii. You can expect additional states to pass similar legislation as well.
Is There a Penalty for Not Having Health Insurance?
As of 2022, there is no penalty for not having health insurance at the federal level. However, several states have implemented their own tax penalties for those individuals without health insurance. If you live in any of the following states, here are the penalties you may be facing:
If you are a resident of the state of California, and don’t have health insurance in 2022, you can expect a tax penalty of $695 per adult and $347.50 per child, or 2.5% of your annual income, whichever is higher.
District of Columbia (Washington D.C.)
If you are a resident of Washington DC and forego health insurance in 2022, you will be required to pay a penalty of $695 per adult and $347.50 per child, or 2.5% of your annual income, whichever is higher.
Residents of Massachusetts without health insurance in 2022 should expect to pay a tax penalty anywhere between $276 and $1,908, depending on their income. Individuals making an income less than or equal to 150% of the Federal Poverty Level are exempt from paying the penalty.
If you are a resident of the state of New Jersey, and don’t have health insurance in 2022, you can expect a tax penalty of 2.5% of a household’s income or a per-person fee, whichever is higher. For the individual taxpayer, fees range between $695 and $3,492. The amount you owe will depend on the size of your family and the tax bracket you fall under.
If you are a resident of the state of Rhode Island, and don’t have health insurance in 2022, you can expect a tax penalty of $695 per adult and $347.50 per child, or 2.5% of your annual income, whichever is higher.
If you are a resident of the state of Vermont, and don’t have health insurance in 2022, the jury is still out on what you will pay. While the state has passed legislation requiring health insurance, there is no set penalty as of yet.
Is Health Insurance Required for Me?
If you live outside of the above states, you don’t need health insurance coverage, but you won’t be doing yourself any favors by choosing to forego medical coverage. In fact, according to wide-ranging studies, including this one reported by the Kaiser Family Foundation, medical providers routinely charge people without insurance 2 to 4 times more than those with insurance coverage.
If you are relatively young and healthy, choosing not to enroll in medical coverage is risky, but understandable. However, if you don’t fall into the young or healthy category, choosing not to enroll in a health plan is an incredibly risky move that could send you spiraling into medical debt. Anyone can face an unexpected accident or be suddenly diagnosed with an expensive health condition, making it a good idea to have coverage.
Ultimately, the answer to the question is no, unless you live in a state where it is required, you do not need health insurance, but it’s always a good idea to stay covered.
Find an Affordable Health Insurance Plan for You
Although many Americans are not required to have health insurance coverage, it is still a good idea to make sure you are covered against an unexpected medical issue. However, even for the most informed consumers, finding the right health insurance plan is no easy order. Luckily, through FirstQuote Health, finding the right insurance policy is now easier than ever.
We have already helped hundreds of thousands of Americans just like you find the coverage they need at a price they can afford, making it easy to compare plan details and prices. To get started, simply enter your zip code, answer a few questions, and find health insurance quotes in your area that fit your needs. Start comparing plans today!