Updated: Dec 9, 2019
Gone are the days of the so-called “Obamacare Individual Mandate.” What used to be termed the most unpopular aspect of the Affordable Care Act (signed into law by President Obama in 2010), the individual mandate required each person in the U.S. to either buy health insurance or pay a penalty. (This requirement — and associated penalty — was assessed on each individual’s tax return). However, with the new Tax Cut and Jobs Act recently signed into law by President Trump, 2018 is the last year individuals are subject to the health insurance mandate. Beginning in 2019, the individual mandate will no longer exist and individuals filing U.S. tax returns will not be obligated to report health insurance coverage nor pay a penalty.
However, until January 1, 2019, a penalty and mandate still stands. For the years 2017 and 2018, individuals not holding requisite health insurance will have to pay the greater of (1) $695.00 per person for the year ($347.50 per child under 18) up to a maximum penalty per family of $2,085.00, or (2) 2.5% of your household income over the applicable filing threshold. If subject to the penalty, the individual must make the payment at the time his or her return is filed. Some people may qualify for an exemption from the penalty if they meet certain requirements.
In short, the effects of the Obamacare Individual Mandate are valid through December 31, 2018, but starting in 2019, Americans will no longer be penalized if they don’t have insurance.