For Consumers

Who needs health insurance/why should I buy it?

It's always a good idea to have health insurance to help cover medical expenses for illnesses and injuries. Most people must buy health insurance or pay a penalty ( The following types of health coverage meet the requirements:

Exemptions from buying health insurance

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

  • You're low income
  • You're a member of a recognized Indian tribe (PDF, 746KB) (
  • You have a religious objection to buying insurance
  • You live outside the U.S.
  • You've been uninsured less than three months
  • Your employer's health plan is unaffordable (if it costs more than 8 percent of your household income)
  • You're enrolled in a health care sharing ministry