Hardship Exemption from the Shared Responsibility Payment, or Obamacare Tax Penalty: See if You Qualify and Learn How to Apply for an Exemption


The open enrollment period ended March 31, but many questions and uncertainties still remain.  The big question is, WHAT NOW?

If you weren’t able to enroll for health insurance coverage before the March 31 deadline, you might qualify for one of the following: an extension to submit your application, a  limited circumstance special enrollment period, a special enrollment period following a qualifying event, or a hardship extension.


If you’re not sure if you qualify for an extension, exemption or special enrollment period, call us at 800-913-0172

Who is Exempt from the Tax Penalty?

There are certain instances when an individual is exempt from paying a tax penalty for not having health insurance, and these include  :

  • Becomes homeless
  • Has been evicted in the past six months, or is facing eviction or foreclosure
  • Has received a shut-off notice from a utility company
  • Recently experienced domestic violence
  • Recently experienced the death of a close family member
  • Recently experienced a fire, flood, or other natural or human-caused disaster resulting in substantial damage to individual property
  • Filed for bankruptcy in the last six months
  • Incurred medical expenses in the last 24 months that resulted in substantial debt
  • Experienced unexpected increases in necessary expenses due to caring for an ill, disabled, or aging family member
  • Expects to claim a child as a tax dependent who has been denied coverage in Medicaid and CHIP, and another person is required by court order to give medical support to the child. In this case, the individual would not have to make a payment for the child
  • As a result of an eligibility appeals decision, is determined eligible for enrollment in a QHP through a Marketplace, the premium tax credit, or cost-sharing reductions for a period of time during which he or she was not enrolled in a QHP through a Marketplace.
  • Was determined ineligible for Medicaid because his or her state did not expand eligibility for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act
  • Lost insurance coverage because his or her individual plan was cancelled and believes other available coverage options are unaffordable.
  • Experiences another hardship in obtaining health insurance
  • You live in a county with only one or no health insurance carrier.

Qualifying for a Hardship Exemption and How to Apply

If you don’t fit into any of the above categories, you still might qualify for an exemption, possibly a hardship exemption.  There are a many circumstances that fit into this category, including: being homeless, eviction from your home, victim of domestic violence, bankruptcy, inability to pay medical bills, your insurance coverage was cancelled, and several others.

You can see a full list upon downloading the hardship exemption application form below:
Hardship Exemption Application Form

Remember, you must attach the appropriate supporting documentation when sending in your application, and you can also apply when you submit your federal tax return.

Your Options Now that Open Enrollment Has Ended

You have a host of options at this point including:

  • Call one of our Personal Benefits Managers at 800-913-0172 to take advantage of an extension to submit your application
  • Enroll for insurance coverage through an HSA for America Personal Benefits Manager via a special enrollment period
  • Apply for a hardship exemption
  • Do nothing and pay the tax penalty
  • Apply for a short-term plan to bridge the gap until the next open enrollment, or as a much cheaper alternative to a permanent plan.  (Short-term plans do not meet ACA requirements, so if you are not exempt, you may still be subject to a tax penalty, but the tax penalty would likely be much less than what you would pay in premiums for a traditional health plan!)  Applying is easy.  Click the link below to run an instant quote and apply online.

Health Insurance Innovations Short Term Insurance

To apply for coverage via a special enrollment period, extension, or short-term plan, call an HSA for America Personal Benefits Manager at

HSA for America
749 S. Lemay Ave, Suite A3-116
Fort Collins, CO 80524
Contact Us

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Disclaimer: All information on this website is relayed to the best of the Company's ability, but does not guarantee accuracy. Information may be out of date. The content provided on this site is intended for informational purposes only and does not guarantee price or coverage. This site is not intended as, and does not constitute, accounting, legal, tax, and/or other professional advice. Determination of actual price is subject to Carriers.