Health Care Law: Do You Have Minimum Essential Coverage?

WASHINGTON, March 15, 2016 - The individual shared responsibility provision requires you and each member of your family to have basic health coverage – also known as minimum essential coverage – qualify for a health coverage exemption, or make an individual shared responsibility payment for months without coverage or an exemption when you file your federal income tax return.

Many people already have minimum essential coverage and do not need to do anything more than maintain that coverage and report their coverage when they file their tax returns. Most taxpayers will simply check a box to indicate that each member of their family had qualifying health coverage for the whole year.

Here are some examples of coverage that qualify as minimum essential coverage:

Employer-sponsored coverage

Group health insurance coverage for employees under
a governmental plan such as the Federal Employees Health Benefit program
a plan or coverage offered in the small or large group market within a state
a grandfathered health plan offered in a group market
Self-insured group health plan for employees
COBRA coverage
Retiree coverage

Individual health coverage:

Health insurance you purchase directly from an insurance company
Health insurance you purchase through the Health Insurance Marketplace
Health insurance provided through a student health plan

Coverage under government-sponsored programs:

Medicare Part A coverage
Medicare Advantage plans
Most Medicaid coverage
Children’s Health Insurance Program, also known as CHIP
Most types of TRICARE coverage
Comprehensive health care programs offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs
Department of Defense Nonappropriated Fund Health Benefits Program
Refugee Medical Assistance
U.S. citizens, who are residents of a foreign country for an entire year, and residents of U.S. territories, are considered to have minimum essential coverage for the year.

For more information on the types of coverage that qualify as minimum essential coverage and those that do not, as well as information on certain coverage that may provide limited benefits, visit the MEC page on

If you need health coverage, visit to learn about health insurance options that are available for you and your family, how to purchase health insurance, and how you might qualify to get financial assistance with the cost of insurance.



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