If you can afford health insurance but choose not to buy it, you must pay a fee called the individual shared responsibility payment. (The fee is sometimes called the “penalty,” “fine,” or “individual mandate.”)

You owe the fee for any month you, your spouse, or your tax dependents don’t have qualifying health coverage (sometimes called “minimum essential coverage”). See all insurance types that qualify.
You pay the fee when you file your federal tax return for the year you don’t have coverage.
In some cases, you may qualify for a health coverage exemption from the requirement to have insurance. If you qualify, you won’t have to pay the fee. Learn about health coverage exemptions.
Learn more about the individual shared responsibility payment from the Internal Revenue Service.

The fee for not having health insurance in 2016 & 2017

The fee is calculated 2 different ways – as a percentage of your household income, and per person. You’ll pay whichever is higher.

Percentage of income

2.5% of household income
Maximum: Total yearly premium for the national average price of a Bronze plan sold through the Marketplace

Per person

$695 per adult
$347.50 per child under 18

Maximum: $2,085

Paying the fee

Using the percentage method, only the part of your household income that’s above the yearly tax filing threshold ($10,300 for individuals, $20,600 for couples filing jointly in 2015, the most recent year available) is counted.
Using the per-person method, you pay only for people in your household who don’t have insurance coverage.
If you have coverage for part of the year, the fee is 1/12 of the annual amount for each month you (or your tax dependents) don’t have coverage. If you’re uncovered only 1 or 2 months, you don’t have to pay the fee at all. Learn about the “short gap” exemption.
You pay the fee when you file your federal tax return for the year you don’t have coverage.
Estimating your fee

The penalty for not having health insurance

If I’m unemployed, do I have to pay the fee?
It depends on your household income. If insurance is unaffordable to you based on your income, you may qualify for an exemption from the fee. Other exemptions are based on low income too. Learn more about exemptions and how to claim them.

What happens if I don’t pay the fee?

The IRS will hold back the amount of the fee from any future tax refunds. There are no liens, levies, or criminal penalties for failing to pay the fee.