The Affordable Care Act: Minimum Essential Coverage
Mar 07, 2014 | 10686 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is bringing many changes to health insurance in 2014. One of the biggest changes took effect Jan. 1. Now most United States citizens must have a minimum level of health care coverage or face a tax penalty. This is known as minimum essential coverage.

What Is Minimum Essential Coverage?

Types of minimum essential coverage plans include:

  • Employer-sponsored health insurance (including COBRA and retiree coverage)
  • Individual health insurance coverage
  • Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
  • Certain types of veterans’ health care

How Do I Know if I Have Minimum Essential Coverage?

Most people who have employer coverage or the other types of insurance listed above meet the requirement. If you have health insurance through your employer and aren’t sure your coverage meets the requirement, you can check with your benefits manager.

What if I Know Someone Who Doesn’t Have Minimum Essential Coverage?

You may have friends or family who do not have insurance that meets the minimum essential coverage requirement. It is important to know that most people who do not have qualified coverage by March 31, 2014, will pay a tax penalty.

This is true for everyone except those who are part of an exempt group. Exempt groups include people who do not have to have coverage because they meet certain qualifications. Some examples of these qualifications include:

  • Financial hardship
  • Religious beliefs
  • Incarceration
  • Those who have special coverage established by another law, such as American Indians

Still Have Questions?

Visit for more information. If you have friends or family members who don’t have health care coverage, they can go online to to apply for Health Insurance Marketplace coverage. They can also apply for coverage by phone at 888-697-0683 or by mail with a paper application.

The information provided here is only a brief summary of one of the provisions of the law. It is not intended to be a complete, detailed description of the law or a legal opinion on the law.
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