The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, aims at providing health insurance coverage to every American. Under the act, individuals must have qualifying health insurance coverage for each month of the year, have an exemption, or make a shared responsibility payment when filing their tax return.
Qualifying health insurance coverage or minimum essential coverage includes:
Health insurance coverage provided by the employer
Health insurance purchased through the Health Insurance Marketplace in the area where you live (where you may qualify for financial assistance)
Coverage provided under a government-sponsored program for which you are eligible (including Medicare, Medicaid, and health care programs for veterans)
Health insurance purchased directly from an insurance company
Other health insurance coverage that is recognized by the Department of Health & Human Services as minimum essential coverage
If you are looking to claim an exemption, then you must meet these requirements:
You have no affordable coverage options because the minimum amount you must pay for the annual premiums is more than eight percent of your household income
You have a gap in coverage for less than three consecutive months
You are undergoing a financial hardship that prevents you from getting coverage
You belong to a group that is exempt from the requirement
You can use the IRS website - irs.gov - and check the comprehensive list of the coverage exemptions.