At least for now, the Affordable Care Act individual major medical mandate penalty is still in effect for the 2018 benefit year.
But the Internal Revenue Service has now adopted a new policy that should make it easier for uninsured people to avoid paying the penalty.
The IRS set the policy in IRS Notice 2019-05, which affects the procedures for applying for hardship exemptions from the individual shared responsibility penalty.
The ACA created Section 5000A of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). IRC Section 5000A requires many people to have a minimum level of major medical coverage, or “minimum essential coverage,” or else pay a penalty.
A provision in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act set the penalty amount at zero for the 2019 benefit year and later years, but not for 2018.
The IRS has always let people avoid paying the penalty by getting hardship exemptions, but many people had to get applications for some types of hardship exemptions approved by their states’ ACA public exchange programs.