I Don’t Have Health Insurance. Do I Still Owe a Penalty?


The historic 2017 tax reform bill contained a significant tax break for people who don’t have health insurance coverage in 2019.  The bottom line is that when you file your 2019 tax return in 2020, the federal government will not charge you a penalty for not having minimum health insurance coverage.  This change has been welcomed news for millions of working families that on paper made too much money which disqualified them from being eligible for the government subsidized health insurance program.


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The Affordable Care Act was passed in March 2010, and starting in 2014 if you didn’t have minimum health insurance coverage you were assessed a fine by the IRS with the filing of your income tax return.  Over the last five years our office has consulted with dozens of working families which had to literally monitor and limit how much money they earned so that they could keep their government health insurance.  Each year the fine has gotten larger with the maximum fine topping out at $ 2,085 for a family without coverage during 2018.  Needless to say, the Act’s annual fine has been very unpopular and has really put a financial squeeze on many working families.


The main complaints that we have heard from the public is that the government sponsored health insurance is way too expensive and that there are major restrictions on what physician you must see and that many routine medical procedures are not covered.   According the Kaiser Family Foundation research 14.3% of non-elderly adults in Mississippi were uninsured at the end of 2017 which is down from a rate of 19.7% in 2013. So it does appear that progress is being made with getting Mississippians health insurance coverage but many working families still are in the dark as to how to afford the government health insurance while still being able to use the doctors they trust for their medical care.