Yes, for 2018, it’s the law to have health insurance. If you choose to go without coverage for more than three months in 2018, you may have to pay a penalty of either 2.5 percent of your income or $695, whichever is greater. You can find more information about the penalty here.
For many people, it is cheaper to enroll in health insurance—and have the peace of mind that comes from being covered—than it is to pay the penalty. This is because you may qualify for savings that lower your premiums if your income is between about $12,000 and $48,000. In fact, over 8 out of 10 people who enroll through healthcare.gov qualify for financial help, and most people find plans available for $75 or less per month.
You may be exempt from the penalty under certain circumstances. For example, you won’t have to pay a penalty if you’re uninsured for less than 3 months in a year or if you don’t file a tax return because your income is too low. If you think you might qualify, you can obtain a “certificate of exemption” from HealthCare.gov.
Starting in 2019, there is no federal penalty for being uninsured. This change will start with your 2019 taxes, which are filed in early 2020. But just because there’s no penalty doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. If you don’t have health insurance, an unexpected accident or illness could mean very high medical bills. That’s why we still encourage you to check out your health insurance options at HealthCare.gov. (Note that a few states – Massachusetts, New Jersey, and DC – have their own state individual mandates so you may face a penalty if you are uninsured and live in those states. Vermont will have its own individual mandate beginning in 2020.)