Exemptions from the requirement to have health insurance

Through the 2018 plan year, most people must have qualifying health coverage or pay a fee (sometimes called the “mandate,” “Shared Responsibility Payment,” or “penalty”) for the months they don’t have insurance. But if you qualify for a health coverage exemption you don’t need to pay the fee.

Note: Starting with the 2019 plan year (for which you’ll file taxes in April 2020), the fee no longer applies. If you don’t have coverage during 2019 or later, you don’t need an exemption in order to avoid the penalty.

Find 2018 health coverage exemptions that may work for you

Answer a few questions to see exemptions that may apply to you for the 2018 plan year. We’ll tell you how to apply for each one.

Exemptions for 2019 and beyond

  • For the 2019 plan year, the Shared Responsibility Payment (“mandate,” “penalty”) no longer applies. You don't need an exemption for 2019 or beyond.
  • If you’re 30 or older and want a “Catastrophic” health plan, see details about exemptions and catastrophic coverage.
  • If you live in Maryland, visit for information on 2017 exemptions and beyond.
  • If you live in the District of Columbia, visit for information on 2019 exemptions and beyond. For 2018, use this page, and for previous tax years, use the links below.
  • If you live in California, visit for information on 2020 exemptions and beyond. For 2018 and 2019, use this page, and for previous tax years, use the links below.

Looking for exemptions for previous tax years? Visit our 2017 exemptions pages or our 2016 exemptions pages.

3 important facts about health coverage exemptions for 2018 and earlier

  • Exemptions are available based on a number of circumstances, including certain hardships, some life events, health coverage or financial status, and membership in some groups.
  • You claim most health coverage exemptions on your federal tax return. Some require you to fill out and mail an application to the Marketplace.
  • You don’t have to pay the fee for any month you have qualifying health coverage. If you’re uncovered only 1 or 2 months, you don’t have to pay the fee for any month.

Learn more about health coverage exemptions

If you're not exempt: