Are there any exemptions to the mandatory health insurance requirement?
The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) provided the following in its brief "Summary of New Health Reform Law" on www.kff.org (accessed July 26, 2010):
"Exemptions [from having health insurance] will be granted for financial hardship, religious objections, American Indians, those without coverage for less than three months, undocumented immigrants, incarcerated individuals, those for whom the lowest cost plan option exceeds 8% of an individual's income, and those with incomes below the tax filing threshold (in 2009 the threshold for taxpayers under age 65 was $9,350 for singles and $18,700 for couples)."
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Section 5000A, signed into law on Mar. 23, 2010, available at www.thomas.gov, states:
"[The] term [applicable individual] shall not include any individual for any month if such individual has in effect an exemption described [below]...
Religious Conscience Exemption - Such term shall not include any individual for any month if such individual has in effect an exemption which certifies that such individual is a member of a recognized religious sect or division thereof described in section 1402(g)(1) and an adherent of established tenets or teachings of such sect or division as described in such section...
Health Care Sharing Ministry - Such term shall not include any individual for any month if such individual is a member of a health care sharing ministry for the month.
Individuals Not Lawfully Present - Such term shall not include an individual for any month if for the month the individual is not a citizen or national of the United States or an alien lawfully present in the United States.
Incarcerated Individuals - Such term shall not include an individual for any month if for the month the individual is incarcerated, other than incarceration pending the disposition of charges.
Exemptions - No penalty shall be imposed... with respect to -
Individuals who cannot afford coverage - any applicable individual for any month if the applicable individual’s required contribution (determined on an annual basis) for coverage for the month exceeds 8 percent of such individual’s household income
Taxpayers with income under 100 percent of [the] poverty line
Members of Indian tribes
Months during short coverage gaps - any month the last day of which occurred during a period in which the applicable individual was not covered by minimum essential coverage for a continuous period of less than 3 months
Hardships—Any applicable individual who for any month is determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to have suffered a hardship with respect to the capability to obtain coverage under a qualified health plan."