Do I need to buy health insurance?

Most people had to buy health insurance by March 31, 2014 or pay a penalty. The good news is that most people in Washington state already have coverage. But if you're one of the nearly 1 million people in our state who are uninsured or if you're struggling to pay for your insurance, you might qualify for tax credits or financial assistance. Here's how it works:

Tax credits

If you're an individual making between $16,105 - $46,680 a year or are a family of four earning less than $95,400, you could qualify for tax credits (www.healthcare.gov) to help you buy a health plan in Washington's Healthplanfinder. The amount of assistance you'll get depends on your income.

Free coverage

If you're an individual earning less than $16,105 a year and are a legal resident of Washington state, you could qualify for free coverage (www.hca.wa.gov).

Penalties

If you didn't get health insurance by March 31, 2014, most people will have to pay a penalty (www.irs.gov) of $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, up to $285 for a family or 1 percent of their household income, whichever is greater. The penalty increases to $325 or 2 percent of household income next year and $695 or 2.5 percent of household income in 2016.

You're exempt from the requirement to have health insurance if:

  • You're low income
  • You're a member of a recognized Indian tribe
  • You have a religious objection to buying insurance
  • You live outside the U.S.
  • You've been uninsured for less than three months
  • Your employer's health plan is unaffordable (if it costs more than eight percent of your household income)
  • You're enrolled in a health care sharing ministry

Updated 07/31/2014

See also

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