The Individual Mandate (AKA ObamaCare Fee) Likely Won’t be Enforced

The Trump administration may no longer enforce the Individual mandate so the IRS may process your tax return without ACA forms required last year.

IMPORTANT UPDATE 2019: The IRS accepted silent returns in 2017 (for 2016 plans), but was more stringent in 2018 (for 2017 plans) saying they would not accept electronically filed forms that did not address the health coverage requirement (see the official statement from the IRS here). It is likely they will still be stringent in 2019 (for 2018 plans). Then for 2019 plans there is no federal fee for not having coverage, and thus this whole thing will be a moot point. For the 2019 tax filing season for 2018 plans however, you should be aware that the IRS may reject “silent returns.”

Trump’s recent order led us to expect this, and now the IRS has confirmed, “Going Silent on line 61 is an Option, Just don’t Attest to Coverage You Didn’t Have.”

This means that if you didn’t get covered you can still process a return without checking line 61 (the line where you attest to coverage). That does not however mean that the IRS won’t still charge you the fee down the road.

If that seems like a mixed message, it sort of is. Trump directed the IRS not to enforce the fee, but it is law and only Congress can change it. Unless Congress officially changes the mandate, “going silent is an option, but you may still end up owing the fee for not having coverage.”

To be very clear:

Trump’s order allows you to file a “silent return,” and the IRS has said they won’t reject it. TIP: This “silent option” only makes sense if you didn’t have coverage and would owe the fee. If you had coverage, got cost assistance, or qualified for an exemption, then you should follow the directions for line 61 and file the 8962 and 8965 forms respectively.

Not having a mandate is great for individuals and families who don’t want to get covered, but it isn’t good for our budget as the IRS needs to take in payments to pay back T-bonds.

What isn’t great for families under the recent changes is HHS now requires extra documentation for Special Enrollment period eligibility and open enrollment windows are shorter. That means those who do want coverage will see new hurdles.

The latest proposed rules from Tom Price’s HHS team suggest there will be a 2018 open enrollment. The new rules also suggest the game plan until we get a replace or repair plan. Tightening rules for special enrollment, reducing the coverage required from insurers, and the eliminating the oversight that would make sure that insurers have adequate providers in the region in which they sell insurance.

This cluster of good news and bad news has been called, politely, “a mixed bag.”

With luck, a repair or reform involves an”actual-fix,” as some elements of past bills have suggested. Of course, we could see the old GOP plan from 2008 being passed after the GOP ensured that a death spiral made Democrats look bad. Skeptics on the political left are concerned that the GOP will remove the provisions of the ACA that make it financially feasible, limit coverage and enrollment, and make the ACA so unworkable that even the outdated GOP plans will look better.

UPDATE: Since this article was written a repeal and replace plan passed the House, see an update on what is changing under TrumpCare here.

See: Reuters Trump may not enforce individual health insurance mandate: aide.

Author: Thomas DeMichele

Thomas DeMichele is the head writer and founder of,, and other websites. He has been in the health insurance and healthcare information field since 2012. is a...

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The point of Obamacare, and the way it is implemented with the mandate, is designed to insure ***hospitals***, not individuals.

Hospitals were required to take uninsured people in the emergency room even if they couldn’t pay. So someone has to pay, and that someone is everyone else. When it became too expensive for everyone else, they put in an individual mandate to expand the insurance pool.

When that becomes too expensive (and it’s close now), then “single payer” will be rolled out. After that, it will be national health coverage like is found in Canada and the UK. 8 months waiting time for an MRI, and if you miss your appointment (even if you are out of the country) you go to the back of the line. If you call for pre-natal care, you are told the waiting time is 10 months, which is rather useless since pregnancy is 9 months. You laugh.

Frankly, this insurance doesn’t cover my rather expensive prescription drugs and so is useless for what I need, rather it is aimed at the hospitals. There is little or no effort at competition or cost-savings or tort reform – put the buying power back into the hands of the customer. The farther it gets away from the customer/client, the worse it will be.


what a mess . if you think that the government is going to help you good luck all its going to do is help the people it really cares about the rich.


Obamacare was never about healthcare to begin with, the majority of people who constructed the bill were insurance workers, so what does that tell you? This has always been about shackling the American people to insurance companies. If the government really wanted to fix the healthcare in this country they would tackle Big Pharma, loosen legal penalties for doctors, and use free market to lower costs on medical supplies.


Wait until the last day to file, giving the new law some time, as it removes the Obama insurance shakedown. Any current mandate is unenforceable. Thank you grand old party


Buenas, yo escogí Ambetter la verdad tienen un servicio pésimo a la clientela, no sirve y de todas maneras tengo que seguir pagando esto es justo, primero tenia el MED PLAN era más confortable y no me puedo cancelar porque dicen que no es un seguro médico, que tengo que hacer?


Elimination of the penalty for not having insurance will be a tremendous financial burden OFF my back and restoring my rights. I cannot believe that something this awful was made a law. It is so hurtful to someone like me and I feel I am being punished because I don’t get insurance through my job. This law is exceedingly unfair!!! I just want to be left alone as I pay my taxes and I do not need this additional financial penalty punishment. I want to retire one day and forcing me to “give” my hard-earned money is so not helping. The cost of living is so high just to be comfortable in your home and now I’ve had to give up money for nothing. I pray everyday that this penalty will be eliminated by President Trump.

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