Will I Still Have to Pay an Obamacare Health Insurance Penalty in 2017 or 2018?

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Will i still have to pay health insurance penalties (under the Obamacare individual mandate) in 2017 or 2018?


This is the question a lot of Americans are asking under the House and Senate health care replacement bills. The short answer is NO. In fact both bills repeal the individual mandate outright and make it retroactive to the beginning of 2017, so no penalty if you had no insurance this year.

Republicans do however realize that for public health insurance to work they need to encourage healthy people to maintain health insurance plans and pay monthly premiums. Or said another way, they just don’t want sick people or those who just got sick to sign up for a non-employer sponsored health plan at the last minute. Without the threat of “Obamacare” penalties under the individual manadate, alternative methods are being used to keep up insurance plan participation rates amongst healthy Americans. This includes having waiting periods for those who have not had continuous coverage for the last 30 to 90 days (details vary by bill) or by charging a premium penalty (up to 30%) for those who have lapses in their insurance.

Senate Republicans made a last minute change to address the health care plan participation or abuse issue by adding a penalty for Americans who let their insurance lapse (or cannot demonstrate continuous coverage) for two months or 63 days or more. Under the new provision, those who go without insurance will be locked out of getting coverage for at least six months after they sign up. This change is based on lock-out periods in various state level Medicaid programs.

The Republican House bill is less stringent on waiting periods, but instead imposes a 30-percent premium penalty for one year when someone re-enrolls.

But the current health care penalty due when filing taxes will still be in effect if a single Obamacare repeal bill is not passed by Congress and sent to the President for signing into law. And there is still a bit of work to do before this happens in 2017. No matter what happens though, lower income and sickly Americans will sadly face higher premiums or penalties in the years ahead.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

laura rinehart December 20

so i will not have to pay the 695$ penalty for not having insurance when i file my taxes at the beginning of 2016? other websites say its not effective till 2019…..

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miriam December 26

I have the same question:(
Maybe because the bill is so new websites don’t have the correct information.
I saw a video on youtube w/trump saying things would kick in this year (BEING 2018) and that we (the people would see the difference this bill makes in February (when we get the refund check)).
I’ve seen website say its 2019 as well. I haven’t seen anything concrete yet though.
I’ve also tried the tax calculator on a few websites to calculate the tax/refund and NONE have asked me if I have health insurance. Some also had the 24,800 standard deduction while other still have the 12,600 (MFJ)

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Natalie January 28

I just filed my 2017 taxes & it asks if you had insurance throughout 2017. If you didn’t you will be fined for 2017 tax filing. I closely watched everything that was being said about the tax reform & the fine being stopped. I have heard & read that when we file our 2018 taxes that we won’t be fined. But still, the fine is cheaper than paying out for insurance I can’t afford & is useless!!

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