I am an American Citizen, but stopped living in the US since 2009. Since then, I have only been back to visit friends and family. Currently, I am traveling the world by backpack. I do not plan on residing in the US in the future, and I keep hearing news about healthcare and all the fees associated when you don’t sign up. I read in one of your questions, you can get exempt if you don’t live in the us 330 days of the year. I still have an active American bank account with Wells Fargo and my mail gets sent to my parents house, but I do not reside there.

How do I make sure I will get exempt from these charges?? How can I secure/prove that I am not living in the US? Please tell me the procedures I must go through to avoid any complications.


If you don't file taxes in the US, or you are living outside the US for more than 330 days in 12 months, you are automatically exempt. If the 12 month period isn't the full tax year, you are simply exempt for any month in that 12 month period over the tax years it spans.

NOTE: The bottom line is that if you pay taxes in the US and make over the filing limit you need an exemption or coverage for each month. So, if you take the 330 day exemption, have foreign coverage that counts as minimum essential coverage, have U.S. qualifying coverage, or have an exemption of another type for each month then you are safe from the per-month fee. This means exacts for any specific person are likely to be complex. Given the complexity, we can't always answer every question. You should treat this information like a jump-off point and seek further information from a tax professional, the 8965 form, or the IRS specifically. See Foreign Insurance Coverage Fast Facts for Assisters from CMS for more details. I don't know of a list of coverages that count as MEC (minimum essential coverage), but generally nations that offer universal coverage or at least the benefits that ObamaCare offers should generally count.

Here are the details.

12. Are US citizens living abroad subject to the individual shared responsibility provision?

Yes. However, U.S. citizens who are not physically present in the United States for at least 330 full days within a 12-month period are treated as having minimum essential coverage for that 12-month period. In addition, U.S. citizens who are bona fide residents of a foreign country (or countries) for an entire taxable year are treated as having minimum essential coverage for that year. In general, these are individuals who qualify for a foreign earned income exclusion under section 911 of the Internal Revenue Code. Individuals may qualify for this rule even if they cannot use the exclusion for all of their foreign earned income because, for example, they are employees of the United States. See Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad, for further information on the foreign earned income exclusion.  Individuals who qualify for this rule should file Form 8965, Health Coverage Exemptions, with their federal income tax returns. - IRS.Gov

Learn more about how the 330 day rule works.

UPDATE: If you will be in the United States for more than the allotted number of days you still get a "less than 3 month coverage gap exemption". If you are filing taxes just fill out the exemptions form 8965 and put in code "e" for your coverage gap.

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meggy tucker on

Answer Rating:

I have been traveling central america by backpack last year and have not been making any money the past year. But I did come back to visit family for the holidays which techically went 35 days or so–a bit longer than this rule. Does this mean I disqualify? Does this mean I suddenly have to have Obamacare and if I don’t I pay money for services I can’t use? And how do I PROOVE any of this in my tax files? Flight details? Passport stamps?And I did not make any money in the US or any other country in the last year–I was doing volunteer work– do I still have to file?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

Answer Rating:

If you make less than the filing threshold (of income that you would have to claim on your tax returns) then you don’t have to have coverage or file your taxes in the US. This means you don’t actually even have to claim any 8965 exemptions.

Isabel on

Answer Rating:

I have dual citizenship, from Brazil and US.
I lived in US for half o the year (until June) and now I am moving back to Brazil for goods.
Do I still have to continue paying health insurance until the end of the year (June 2015 – December 2015)? It does’t make any sense to me to pay for a healthcare service if I am not even living in the country, plus, don’t I need a US address to sign up for health plans?
I was covered with my company from the entire time but I won’t have health insurance after June 1st.
I don’t know what do to.

Thank you

ObamaCareFacts.com on

You shouldn’t need health insurance while you aren’t in the country and not returning. That wouldn’t make a lot of sense. At first glance it would make sense that you would be either able to take a code “C” exemption on form 8965 when you file your taxes for 2015 or take another exemption. Perhaps the 330 day rule (physical presence test) could be used. You can be exempt for 330 days starting June 2015 until June 2016? Hope those ideas help point you in the right direction. Will comment again if we come across a more concrete answer.


Rose on

I have lived abroad for the last three years. My husband just immigrated upon our coming to the states. If we came in the middle of this year how long do we have in order to obtain insurance before we are penalized. We all know this takes time. And we attempted to apply for government funding before had jobs and were denied. There must be a grace period, yes??

ObamaCareFacts.com on

So you can claim an exemption for any 330 day outside of the country. How does this work when you return back from living abroad you ask? Good question!

If you return and then you don’t go back you need to get coverage starting the month you move back. You have a two month grace period where you don’t have to have a plan (short coverage gap exemption) but you shouldn’t use this up as you also only have a 60 day window to get coverage from your move date.

Best thing to do is to apply for coverage ASAP so you have all your options on the table.

Richard L. Kemper on

What about being owed by the irs a refund for almost one year? Will they deduct that from any non insured payment I may owe?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

The money the IRS owes you is sorted out by the IRS and doesn’t affect anything health insurance (aside from the fee for not having coverage and tax credits claimed on 8962).

Oliver Mark on


Thank you for all the information given there.
We live in USA, my wife is French and has a green card. We spent the months of June and July in France in 2015. She doesn’t have insurance in USA but can we consider that she was covered during June and July when filling our taxes as she would have been covered in France if something happened there? Can we avoid the penalty fee of not being covered for those 2 months?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

You get less than two months in a row each year without coverage or an exemption. So that should do the trick for those two months. You can see all exemptions on tax form 8965.

Annika on

I have been abroad since September for 2014, dual citizen of the UK and US- I have only visited the US once since that time for 2 weeks, am I exempt? And is the only form to fill out on the tax form, or is there another form to fill out before filing taxes.

ObamaCareFacts.com on

If you are filing in the US and can’t claim any exemptions then you would need coverage, but like this page explains, the 330 day rule would apply to you and you would be exempt. https://obamacarefacts.com/obamacare-exemptions-list/

Hannah Pollack on

I am currently living in Chile and have been a resident here since 2012. This year, I plan to move back to the US. Do I need to register now for a health plan or can I do it when I get back?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

If you are going to come back and live and the US and pay taxes you need to enroll so you have coverage when you move back. You’ll take the foreign presence test (330 day exemption explained on this page) to be exempt for months you weren’t here.

Caro on

Hi, I read all the thread and there’s lots of good info! But I was wondering, I am a citizen living abroad. I also don’t file tax returns because I haven’t worked since I left the States 3 years ago. But this year I will be visiting family for 2 months, so its over the 330 days allowed. I don’t want to have any trouble with this, do I need to do anything? I don’t want to be penalized as I don’t live in the US currently.

ObamaCareFacts.com on

You can take two 330 day periods one on each side of coming to visit. Probably a good way to do it. It’s flexible, check out the actual related IRS forms for different ways you can take the 330. You can also see the exemptions list for more ways to claim exemptions. https://obamacarefacts.com/obamacare-exemptions-list/

And generally you only need coverage if paying taxes in the US.

Michelle Nguyen on


I lived in the U.S. from January 2015 to September 2015 and I worked during that period. I left in September 2015 and moved to Europe. I cancelled my health insurance when I left the country, because I will be living in Europe for the next two years.

When I file my tax forms, will I have to pay penalties for not having health insurance from Sept-Dec 2015? I was out of the country, but the rules say you must be living abroad for 330 days.

ObamaCareFacts.com on

See this for more rules: https://www.irs.gov/Individuals/International-Taxpayers/Foreign-Earned-Income-Exclusion—Physical-Presence-Test

There are lots of ways to count the 330 days. You can see the 8965 exemption form instructions for more details!

mary stanfield on

I have read the link you posted, but i don’t see the answer to the question, so am hoping you might be able to clarify:

If I move away from the US in August 2017 and do not plan to return for 18+ months, then I think I should qualify for the 330 day exemption. BUT when I am filing taxes in March of 2018, I will not have been out of the country for 330 days yet! So do we have to pay the fines, and then get reimbursed in the following tax year once we can prove we’ve been gone for 330 days??

Confusing…. Thank you so much for any light you can shed! :o)

ObamaCareFacts.com on

I agree with you that it is confusing. 330 day periods can overlap, and in general I think this means you can take those as two 330 day periods (one for each year).

However this stuff is confusing and we don’t feel comfortable being the last stop for advice. I’ll take a note to look into this deeper and attempt to present better documentation. For now you are advised to double check all this against a tax professional.

Kay on

I will be volunteering in Uganda for 5 months in 2016 and purchasing international medical insurance while I’m there. I currently have coverage under Obamacare. Can I cancel it and reinstate it when I return? Or do I need to pay for it the whole time I’m gone?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

Oddly enough you are supposed to have coverage in this instance, although you can take any exemptions based on income and the less than three month coverage gap exemption. So you can stack some exemptions, but for the extra months you’ll need coverage or the fee.

Also look into special enrollment so you understand how to re-enroll when you move residences.

Also, some types of foreign insurance can exempt you as well, so make sure to understand your options there.

Mauro on

Hi I have duel citizenship USA and Italy. I now reside in Spain as of Dec 15 2015. I had health insurance thru the company I worked for Jan 2015-Nov 2015. Will I be penalized
for the one month I didnt have insurance.

ObamaCareFacts.com on

No that is less than two months without coverage, so those months are exempt using form 8965.

J. Condega on

I am a retired US citizen living abroad and have been filing with IRS based on the retirement payment received which is below $15,000/yr. Now with the inclusion of Obama care item in the 1040 form I am not sure how to treat that. I have no US health insurance since retirementback in 2000

ObamaCareFacts.com on

In this instance you should have a few options for claiming the exemption on form 8965 (including the foreign presence test). Also your retirement income many not count as MAGI. So check that.

Iggy on


I am claiming my mother in law as a dependent. She has a green card but lives in Russia, she came to visit for two month, during these two month in the USA she didn’t have insurance, unless her foreign insurance counts.

Can I use C exemption for those two months?


ObamaCareFacts.com on

I almost fairly confident that you would claim both the 330 (one on each end of the break, and then C for the gap). You have to confirm this with a tax professional.

Stephanie on

I am a US citizen living in Colombia with my American husband and child where we have health insurance. I am considering moving back to the United States for a period of a year for familial reasons and I do not plan to work but will continue to be supported by my husband’s work abroad. I would of course need health insurance during that period for myself and my child. Does the Affordable Care Act have a special enrollment period for Americans returning from living abroad?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

Yeah, moving home from abroad (or moving states in the US) triggers a special enrollment period. Make sure to coordinate coverage up to 30 days before you arrive.

Alice on

For the 330 days does the date start from the day you get the stamp on your passport or the day you fly out of the US? For example, would the calculated day start the day I’m at the airport waiting to leave the US?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

Yeah, I do believe this is how it works (from memory). Check the IRS’s guidelines on the physical presence test for exact answers. This is just general advice 🙂

Peyton on


I am moving to Australia on the one-year working visa. I will be purchasing expat coverage, but I have found that this type of coverage is not ACA compliant. If I return back to the USA after 7-8 months rather than the full year, will I be fined for those 7-8 months since I will be using the expat coverage?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

It depends on your tax filing in the US and specifics of your situation. But the 330 rule is flexible. You can take one 330 before you left and one after in a situation like this if I recall correctly. You would need to verify that though, we only give general advice here.

Jorge Rogachevsky on

My wife and I have a similar but not identical situation. We plan to retire in summer 2017 and will move to the UK. My wife is a UK citizen and has US residency. I am a US citizen. As a UK citizen she is eligible for health coverage in the UK after three months of having reestablished residence and I will be eligible as her spouse. Starting out our retirement income from Social Security and private US-based pension will be at least $40,000/yearly so we will have to file taxes I assume. Is the 330-day provision applicable to us or are we exempt altogether?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

See page #3 here: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i8965.pdf

This covers all the exemptions related to foreign coverage and presence. A copy and paste of the related exemption on page 3 of the 8965 instructions for 2015 is pasted below.

Citizens living abroad and certain noncitizens—You were:
A U.S. citizen or a resident alien who was physically present in a foreign country or
countries for at least 330 full days during any period of 12 consecutive months;
A U.S. citizen who was a bona fide resident of a foreign country or countries for an
uninterrupted period that includes an entire tax year;
A bona fide resident of a U.S. territory;
A resident alien who was a citizen or national of a foreign country with which the U.S.
has an income tax treaty with a nondiscrimination clause, and you were a bona fide resident
of a foreign country for an uninterrupted period that includes an entire tax year;
Not lawfully present in the U.S and not a U.S. citizen or U.S. national. For more
information about who is treated as lawfully present in the U.S. for purposes of this coverage
exemption, visit http://www.HealthCare.gov; or
A nonresident alien, including (1) a dual­status alien in the first year of U.S. residency
and (2) a nonresident alien or dual­status alien who elects to file a joint return with a U.S.
spouse. This exemption doesn’t apply if you are a nonresident alien for 2015, but met certain
presence requirements and elected to be treated as a resident alien. For more information
see Pub. 519.


I (US Citizen) had health coverage in 2015 from January to April 30th. First week of May, coverage ended and I left the country, traveling until March 1st of this year. How will this effect my 2015 / filings?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

In instances like this you either need to have some sort of coverage or pay a fee. The 330 day doesn’t apply to those traveling for a few months, but other exemptions on form 8965 do. The rule of thumb is you need to file for exemptions or maintain coverage if you are paying taxes in the US. 330 day is an exemption, and there are many more, but no exemption for a few months of traveling specifically so you’ll have to look at all your options.

Stuart Russell on

I had insurance coverage for one month in January and was dropped. I have since not been covered, but starting May I will be living permanently outside of the US. Will there be a penalty?

Pam D on

Asking on behalf of my daughter, who turns 26 in August and will lose coverage by her dad’s employer. She works fulltime on a cruise ship and is typically on a ship/out of the country for 7-8 months at a time. She is home in Washington state for only 8 weeks between contracts, so she does not quite meet the 330 day rule. Her employer does not offer health insurance for crew members but does provide free routine medical care while on the ship. If she has a complicated health issue or needs surgery the company would put her ashore at the next port for medical care, and this could be anywhere in the world. Is she required to purchase a plan? If so, since she is out of the country for most of the year, what should she be looking for? Thank you.

ObamaCareFacts.com on

Great question. Honestly I don’t have an answer to this one. The fee is based on taxes claimed in the US. If she isn’t paying taxes here then she is fine, if she is, she would by the law oddly need insurance (even though she couldn’t use it). There may be some sort of travelers insurance that could trigger an exemption here, but this needs to be run by healthcare.gov probably.

If you get an answer would be glad to see it posted here for others.

Rick on

I have been reading your web and found so many good information, Thank you so much for providing it!
I have question, I am a US Citizen who will be unemployed in 3 weeks. Currently I am still covered with insurance from my company. Next month, I am planning to take a long vacation by traveling to Europe and Asia for at least 4 months before return back to US and find some job. I am not planning to purchase any travel insurance. But I will purchase insurance, once I am back to US. Will I be penalized on my tax next year for not covered during my time of traveling? I am open to any suggestion, please feel free to ask if you need any other information.


ObamaCareFacts.com on

Thank you for the kind words.

This is a complex situation. You’ll need to look at your total calendar year income for the year you are traveling and the exemptions and decide how to structure things. You may want to keep coverage while abroad, or you may just pay the per-month fee for a few months. It is an individual choice based on income and what other exemptions you might qualify for.

Rachie on

I am a US citizen but I moved abroad on Feb 3, 2016 and don’t plan to return to the US this year. I do not have a health insurance plan. Since I am technically 3 days outside of the 330 day rule- can I still safely claim the living abroad exemption? How does the IRS verify and is there any soft grace period (ie give/take a couple days).

Riley on

I am a US citizen but currently living abroad (left the US on Feb 3, 2016. I have a traveler’s insurance plan. Will this exempt me from the obamacare fine? Or can I qualify for the 330 day exemption?

Also- what is the monthly fee if you don’t qualify for an exemption?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

If you’ll be abroad then you qualify for the 330 and don’t need travelers. Travelers actually won’t help protect you from the fee anyway, so it is more about your health.

Adam Rudin on

I am a US citizen who will have worked at a normal job January 2016 through July 2016. At the end of July, I will be joining an organization to volunteer abroad for a minimum of 1 year. We have an orientation in July/August and then depart to our country in September for at least 1 year. So:

Jan-July 2016: working w/employer’s insurance
July-August 2016: training/orientation for organization – no insurance
September 2016 – August 2017: volunteering abroad – overseas insurance (doesn’t qualify for ACA)

When I file taxes in January 2017 I will have only been out of the country for 4 months, but I will EVENTUALLY meet the 330 day exemption rule.

How does that work when filing?


ObamaCareFacts.com on

Great questions. It is not stored in my brain, but it is explained in this document: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p54.pdf

I don’t want to speculate on the exact answer, but the answer is I believe found one page 4 when discussing extensions. Hope that helps.

I know you can still take the exemption, just got to read the fine print on the mechanics.

Tony on


I have been working with a company here in the US since January 1st, however am looking to travel abroad beginning in July and coming back in December, definitely less than the 330 days. I will have travel insurance through an agency that covers me while abroad, but do I need a short-term insurance plan in the US covering me while abroad. Therefore, having n insurance plan covering me for overseas and one covering me here? Thank you for your help.

ObamaCareFacts.com on

This isn’t an easy answer, it depends on tax filing status in the U.S. and then knowing you can take more than one 330 day exemption on either end depending on tax filing in other years. You can also just pay the per-month fee. Lots of options, just keep in mind a short term plan doesn’t protect you from the fee.

Kendra on

I am a US Citizen and am currently covered under my company for health insurance. I am moving to Colombia in July and will be there for 6-8 months, nothing is set in stone though, I will for sure be gone until at least January 2017 but it may be much longer. Do I need to keep my health insurance here in America if I am still going to be working hourly (instead of salary like I am now, I will be working only part time hourly) for the same company but remotely from Colombia? I will not be in the United States at all so I don’t see the point of having to have health insurance here. I also don’t know when for sure I will be returning to the states. Any help is much appreciated!

Erika B on

I am going backpacking outside of the US for a year (leaving in May). I previously had insurance until I quit my job at the end of April. Do I need to purchase healthcare to avoid the penalty?

Kathy on

My husband and I at retirement will move to Europe for 3 years. My understanding is we qualify for the 330 day exemption all 3 years and are not required to carry coverage in the US; and, there would be no penalty.
Is this correct?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

You got it. It starts the day you go and ends the day you come back, so if you’ll file taxes and leave mid-year, consider having coverage before you go.

Christian Larsen on

Does this rule apply if my family still resides in the US but I work abroad?

Conor on


I’m going to be in a similar situation to the other backpackers here. I’m a citizen of the US. I will be getting insured through the marketplace this month, but I’m going to be traveling abroad in September, for two years or so. It will be a typical backpackers trip. I won’t be a resident of any other country. I’ll be doing a lot of border crossing. Am I required to maintain insurance through the end of the year, or will I be able to cancel my policy once I leave the US. I understand that in 2017 I will not be required to maintain insurance, as I will be abroad for over 330 days in the full year, but I’m unsure on the period from September through to the end of 2016.

Felicia on

I have a similar question as Isabel from May 27, 2015 so wondering if you have further information …

I am moving out of the US on July 31, 2106 to live and study in the UK for the next 2 years. I have lived and worked in the US for until end of July, and my employer has covered me in full during that time.

Do I need to get minimum essential coverage for some parts of Aug-Dec, or can I claim exemption for Aug-Dec 2016 when I file my 2016 taxes?

Jessica on

My partner and I are leaving the country this August to go back-packing around the world. We are planning on being out of the country for at least 330 days out of the next 365.
Our question is what happens if we have an emergency back here in the USA and we have to abort our trip early? Will we face paying the penalty, not only on 2017 taxes but also a back-penalty on our 2016 taxes?

Lauren on

Hi! I’ve tried reviewing Healthcare.gov and calling them, but they couldn’t figure out what I should do.

I had health insurance through my work in the US from Jan 1 – June 30 (I’m a US citizen). My employment ended and I have no had coverage starting July 1. I’m moving with a settlement visa to the UK in September with no intention of coming back to the US.

I have two questions:

1) Knowing I have the 2-month gap from July- August, do I have to pay for health insurance for the rest of the year even though I’ll be living in the UK?

2) Does the 330 days mean that in 2017 I can only visit the US for 35 days? Or would my look back start Sept 1, 2016?


Brooke on

Hi, so I am a us citizen and arrived in Australia june20th for an Aupair job till December 1st then I go back home. I turned 26 April 22nd so I lost my parents coverage end of that month and I know I have a I think certain number of days to sign up for coverage but since I’m not in America for 6 months I shouldn’t have to pay for health insurance that I can’t take advantage of. (I do have travel medical insurance though for while I am here)from AAA, that should count.

Anthony Lemar on

My wife and son lives in Panama South America and I live and work here in Florida. We have an apartment over in Panama and they have not been here the whole year. I work for Delta so I am able to fly over on weekends. They have their own coverage there, would I have to pay a tax penalty for them? And how would I file at the end of the year still joint file or head of the household?

Josh on

I plan on going on a Work and Holiday Visa for the whole year starting in September (365 days). Do I need to do anything before I leave in terms of health care and taxation? Or do I file exemptions and what not the following year? How does filing taxes work in this instance?

alana on

I am an American and I work for an American cruise company. We are on international waters and we stop in some American ports. .on the cruise ship we are offered full medical coverage but not during our vacation at home. Is it possible for me to be exempt for the fine for not buying my own healthcare?

alana on

I am an American and I work for an American cruise company. My companh takes out fed taxes for each pay period. We are on international waters and we stop in some American ports. .on the cruise ship we are offered full medical coverage but not during our vacation at home. Is it possible for me to be exempt for the fine for not buying my own healthcare? Also I have been physically off the ship for 30 days this year. …….

Vicki on

I left the U.S. on July 9, 2016, and am planning on being overseas for 1 1/2 to 2 years, or possibly longer, just returning to the U.S. for occasional visits to see family throughout the year (less than 35 days per year–about 12 days in December for the rest of this year). I work remotely for a U.S. company and will be filing U.S. taxes for 2016. I currently still have U.S. health insurance. Do I still need this, or can I cancel it and just pay for an international policy? And, if I do still need U.S. health insurance, for how long?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

The 330 day rule is pretty strict, and your return visits may complicate things for claiming that exemption. Form 8965 (https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i8965.pdf) says:

Foreign coverage. In general, coverage provided by a foreign
employer to its employees and related individuals is minimum
essential coverage. Individuals with such coverage should
see Pub. 974, Premium Tax Credit (PTC). However, coverage
that an individual purchases directly from a foreign health insurance
issuer or that is provided by the government of a foreign
country doesn’t qualify as minimum essential coverage unless
it’s recognized as minimum essential coverage by the Department
of Health and Human Services (HHS). To find out if HHS
has recognized particular forms of foreign coverage as minimum
essential coverage, go to http://www.cms.gov/CCIIO/Programs-andInitiatives/Health-Insurance-Market-Reforms/minimumessential-coverage.html,
and scroll down and click on the link for
the list of approved plans.

Mark on


My Wife and I have been living in Germany doing a direct exchange since February but we plan on coming back to the US at the end of October. I am currently being taken off my parent’s insurance because I am turning 26 in September and my wife is loosing his insurance because his parents changed providers (she is 24). We have full coverage out here from a Travel Agency and I start a full time job in January. Will we be ok with out coverage until we get back to the states? Are we able to avoid getting insurance until we are covered in January? Thanks in advance!

Sue Clark on

I have dual nationality and have always lived in the UK. I am travelling to the US for a temporary job of no more than one year. Can I use my travel insurance from the UK for the first 60 days of living in the US before applying for an AC accredited incurance?

Jeannette on

Thanks for the useful information provided. Just wanted to make sure I had things understood. I have been living out of the US for two years and have not had to file my taxes. What is the proof needed to show that I have been covered by another national insurance? Is the fact I have not filed taxes enough to avoid any penalties or do I need some kind of documentation from my foreign health service?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

If you need to file taxes, then you’ll want to grab form 8965 and follow the directions there. It’ll explain the exact proof you do or don’t need depending on your exact situation. It can be a little complex and think its better if you see the form yourself.


Francis Casey on

I am leaving my job to travel in Asia on Sep 15. My US health insurance through my job will end and I will then be enrolling in International Travel Insurance.

I do not know exactly how long I will travel for. I am aiming to be gone for a full 12 months but may return earlier and so cannot assume that I will be gone for the full 330 days needed for the exemption. I will only know that upon my return.

Am I required to enroll in a US Health Insurance program while I am gone? If I do and then end up being gone for 330 days I will have unnecessarily paid US Health Insurance on top of my International Insurance. If I don’t enroll and then return after 320 days and sign up for insurance at that time, I will be penalized.

What should someone do when they do not know if they will be out of the country for the full 330 days?

Edgar Schaffarczyk on

My son works and goes to school in Russia. He earns much less than the foreign earned income exclusion. His gets health care through his school. I have coverage for him through private insurance (he has never used since coverage started in 2013). He does not file taxes in the US. Is he exempt?

My wife is a US resident. She is currently in Australia to take care of her mother. I have coverage for her (she has also never used). She can get coverage in Australia akin to Medicare since she is 62 years of age. Do we have to continue to buy expensive coverage here while she is gone (up to six months).

Alex V on

US Citizen planning on living abroad for 6 months. I will have travelers health insurance through a US based carrier (Nationwide). Does this mean that I am still exempt from the penalty?

Tucker on

I have a related question.
My daughter taught as a TEOSL teacher temporarily, in an Asian country. She started in October of 2014. It was initially for 6 months, then 9, then due to 4 job changes, she ended up staying for 16 months total. She only came home for one visit of 12 days in 2015. So she meets the 330 days out of country.. but after the fact. I don’t know how to tell when it went from “temporary” to “indefinite” by IRS standards., or when “tax home” or “residence” changed. Her permanent home is here in the US.
But, she had maintained Obamacare coverage, with subsidy, throughout the entire time – as it was initially to be a temporary time period, and she cannot be without insurance due to medical issues that could have required her to return home for care.
If she takes the 330 day exemption for tax purposes, will she owe for all the back subsidized payments? She is prepared to not claim the exemption and pay the taxes in order to qualify for the coverage subsidy… but is not sure that is allowed either. When we called and talked to The Marketplace and went to the IRS, we got a huge range of answers as to what she could and could not do… so she stayed on the plan because she was not SURE when she would be leaving, and could not risk being off of insurance… or not being able to get back on it.. .even though it was no good there.
It has been horrifically confusing. Especially if things change retroactively.
So the main questions.
1. IF she takes the 330 day exemption, will she have to pay back any subsidy payments paid on her behalf?
2. Can she choose NOT to take the 330 day exemption even if she was gone that long?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

It is my understanding that all 8965 exemptions are optional. I do think you should verify this though, perhaps by using a tax professional or IRS services. Tax-related advice for odd situations is something that should aways be run by a professional.

Corrie on

I’m am American who has been an expat for 6 yrs. We quality for the health insurance exemption and usually purchase travel insurance when we visit the USA.
I’ve had to leave my host country due to Zika and am pregnant. I have no insurance that will cover me for pregnancy in the USA. We earn to much for any assistance and am more than happy to purchase a plan via the health care act and I’m allowed to as returning is a qualified event. What I can’t get an answer to is why I would have to include all of our income including our foreign earned income? Shouldn’t it just be what I’m taxed on in the USA? Nobody can give me an answer.. accountants or the HCA people don’t know. I can’t see paying 800 a month with a 5k deductible that restarts at year end?! I’m not due till Feb.. I’m thinking my risk with Zika is better than getting a fair insurance plan! Please advise

[email protected] Erin on

This is because your income for cost assistance and the marketplace is based on Modified Adjusted Gross Income and not Adjusted Gross Income. See more about MAGI here.

Allison on

I am currently employed full time and I get health insurance through my employer. I am planning on leaving my job at the end of December to travel for 4-5 months, and then come back to the states and look for a new job. I have two weeks of vacation that they have agreed to let me use at the beginning of January so the first couple of weeks of 2017 I will have health insurance. Should I apply for Cobra with my employer even though this is outrageously expensive, or will I qualify for signing up for health insurance through the health exchange? If I can sign up for it through the health exchanges will I be able to do so before I leave even though I still have coverage through my employer but I know for a fact that I will eventually lose it? Would I qualify for any of the subsidies even though I voluntarily left my job, especially since I will have no income coming in and all my savings are going towards this trip? The only type of insurance I have purchased for this trip is travel insurance which will cover emergency medical situations. Thanks

Ian Remson on

Hi. I will be moving abroad in November and in doing so will be losing my health insurance. This will mean that i do not have health insurance as of 12/31. Will i still qualify for that 2 month exemption if I am not covered at 12/31?

[email protected] Erin on

Everyone gets a 3 month short-term coverage gap exemption automatically.

Marcos on

Im Marrying a US Citizen and she will move to Mexico. she will be my dependent 100%. As of right now she’s covered by my insurance which covers both of us in Mexico and the US. Does she still needs to apply for a health Plan in the US???

mike on

hello. my family will live outside US from october 2016 to march 2017. can i discontinue their insurance or not?

Patricia White on

My husband (57) and myself have dual citizenship in US and Ireland. We are planning to spend the next 2 years traveling abroad. We plan to leave Feb 1, 2017, we plan to be out of the country for at least one year. I have retired early (taking distributions from investments for expenses). My husband is an independent photographer. We file jointly.

Will we be able to declare the 330 day rule on our 2017 tax filing and terminate our Us health insurance on Feb 1, 2016.

When we return to the US, will we be able to get health insurance without any problems and immediately upon return after 2 years away, so that we don’t have any gaps in coverage?

I assume we will need to file US tax returns while we are out of country…and will need to file a FORM explaining the 330 day exemption…is that correct?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

Yes, you should file one or more 330 day exemptions (via the 8965 form) based on your travels when you file taxes. When you move back you should then qualify for special enrollment. This isn’t a simple situation and i’d hate to leave you without all the details, so I would double check by calling the marketplace.

Jim on

I am finding this VERY confusing but what I want to know is the opposite of what most others are asking:
What I want to know is CAN I get Obamacare even though I am a legal resident of another country? I am still a U.S. Citizen.

I want to get Obamacare if I can because my only income is Social Security and so my Obamacare is free in the state my “permanent address” and bank account etc is in.

Is there any provision in obamacare that says you have to live in the U.S. x amount of time in order to be able to get free health care through obamacare?

Tomasz Pik on


My wife and I are both dual citizens of the US and Poland. We are both retired, and we receive our benefits from CPS and SURS so we file taxes in the US every year. We are planning to move to Poland for the period of 2-3 years. Will we be exempt from paying insurance premiums during this time?

Thank you.

bdenn on

I’m genuinely confused. I will be working outside the US for aprox six months. This is obviously less than 330days. I can’t fathom that I’m going to have to pay for six months of Health Insurance that I will not only not be using, but I couldn’t access even if I wanted to. Am I correct in understanding that I’m simply SOL on this?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

So, I agree that this seems strange that one would be expected to do this, but it is generally the rule. I feel like one may be able to use another 8965 exemption (like the foreign insurance exemption) to get around this… but I haven’t found one yet. It is one of those oddities that should be addressed by whatever step is next for healthcare reform.

Jordan on

Thanks for the information! I moved to Vietnam at the end of August, the same day my health insurance in the US ended. I started working for a foreign company in Vietnam in October. I won’t have residency here until the end of December or January. Currently I have a spousal visa exemption. Will I be penalized for September-December of the 2016 tax year? Then what do I need to do for the 2017 tax year when I have lived abroad a full 12 months? How do I prove all this?

Jordan on


Rena M. Greenblatt on

A friend is a dual citizen and lives here for 3 1/2 months, then I leave for 7 weeks, Then the friend is here for 3 and 1/2 months and I leave again for the rest of the year (3 months).

He is usually in the states about 6 plus months a year. He does file taxes here.
Do my friend need to get health coverage apart from the Traveler’s insurance he uses when he is travelling.

He has health coverage in his country (socialized medicine) and uses Traveler’s insurance when he travels.

Jake on

Hi, we are Christian missionaries in a foreign country but are still US citizens. We will have been living out of the US for 341 days on Dec. 31 of this year. We had not planned to file a federal return so is there something we need to file to make sure we are exempt? I don’t want any surprises.

Erin on

If you are out of the country for 330 days or more in a calendar year you are considered covered. If you aren’t required to file because you didn’t meet the tax filing threshold for the year, than you are exempt from the requirement to have minimal essential coverage.

Svilen on

“amount of days“ – what`s wrong with number of days?

Erin on


Audie on

I will be out of the US from Feb to August 2017. What will happen if I don’t have Obamarcare, as a dual-citizen I will have another insurance from that country, and on August 1st I will have medicare kicks in. Am I be penalized???

shaielesh on

what about the F1-visa immegrant on OPT, if they leave country after their opt period ending at septmentber 2017, then will they be charged cancellation fee?

Steve Howard on

I am in Finland for three months this year on a Fulbright through the US State Dept. The State Dept is providing me with insurance while I am in Finland. My wife and daughter were going to join me as dependents for about 70 of those days and we purchased travel insurance for them as well, dropping our domestic policy for that time. Will we get a tax penalty as a result? Do we need to keep an active domestic insurance policy even while we are living abroad and covered through travel health insurance?

Charlie Culwell-Kanarek on

Hello! Thank you for posting this information and maintaining this site.

I am a permanent U.S. citizen (born in Wisconsin) who has been going to school online while living in Vietnam since April 2016, and am wondering if I still need to pay taxes for the entire year even though I do not have plans to return to the U.S. until January 2018. I have not made any money since moving here. I’m sorry if this is only a small amount of information. I’m inexperienced in filing taxes.

katherine bedoya on

Currently I am living out of the USA for 3 years in a row but I still work for a USA Company and I am still paying taxes and keep a USA mail address. Could I be exempt ?

I need to know what are my options because I have health insurance in the country that I am living in and the insurance the company offers me do not includes my daughter and I can not use it abroad.

May I know what should I do?

Natalie on

Thank you so much for responding to all of these comments! I am leaving to teach abroad in Colombia for a minimum of 6 months, perhaps 9. This does not qualify me for the exemption as I won’t be out of the country long enough. I will have travelers insurance, but this does not cover you in your home country and I have read that I still must be covered in the United States even if I’m not living there. When I return (most likely in the fall) I will get a job as a teacher. Therefore, I’m not sure what my salary for 2017 will be. Does this mean I may be fined if I do not have U.S. health insurance for the 6-9 months I am gone?

Alyse on

I am a US citizien and currently employed in CA, with medical insurance, through the end of February. I will be leaving my job and traveling from March to November, returning in December. I am not planning to continue my US insurance, but will instead take out a non ACA-compliant travel emergency/evac insurance plan. I will only be gone about 275 days, so do not qualify for the 330 rule. Are there other exemptions I may qualify for, or do I need to carry (useless) US insurance while I’m abroad to avoid the fee? Does the “not lawfully present” exemption only apply to immigrants?

Chelsie on

I had health insurance through October 1st, 2016 before moving to Spain, where I am now a legal resident and covered by health insurance. I will not be coming back to the US until June of next year. Am I exempt from the penalty?

I am unsure if having coverage through October 1st would make my length of non coverage “less than 3 months” but it seems absurd that I would be charged for not being covered while not being in the country.

ann on

If you retire then move abroad, do you still have to file US income tax return. It seems absurd, maybe there are no accountants there who know how to fo it.

Elmer Tiwn on

My wife is not a US citizen. And she has not lived in the USA over ten years. Do I need insurance on her. It wouldn’t pay anything in Indonesia. Does the 330 law apply for her. I am covered by VA.


if you have a child living out of U.S (without us insurance) that you support financially, do you have to pay penalty when you claim the child as your depended in your tax return ? or you are not allowed ?

Pisces on

I worked for 4 months on H1B visa and myself and family left US.(citizen of India) I had employer insurance for the 4 months.
I meet the presence test and hence I need to file as a resident (1040).

Do I qualify for exemption?

Tiffany Shaffer on

It is currently two years after someone has made a post about this specific situation. I am curious if it is still true.

I will be leaving in March (between the 10th-20th) and will be living in Japan for 12 months. That means, for all of January, February, and part of March 2017 I will be in the states. Will I need to have American Health Insurance while in Japan? I will have a Japanese insurance while there. I will have mail sent to a friend, and will be paying student loans, but my form of payment will be in Japanese currency.

Thank you in advanced.

ObamaCareFacts.com on

Yes, the basics of the 330 day rule still apply, but it can be a bit complex so we always suggest starting with this info and then digging into the actual IRS forms yourself. They are noted above, but a good starting point is the 8965 exemptions form itself.

I believe that if you travel to a place like Japan, and can get covered under Japanese heath coverage, it counts as foreign coverage.

I know travelers’ insurance doesn’t cut it, but some foreign plans do. From what I understand, countries that have a form of universal coverage and offer that to those staying in the country essentially count as MEC. That said, I’ve never seen an official list. See https://marketplace.cms.gov/technical-assistance-resources/foreign-insurance-coverage.pdf

Julia on

My husband and I left the US on July 13th and have been traveling out the US since then(we have qualifying coverage up until we left the country). Now we want to move to Portugal and have to come back to apply in the US. This can take anywhere from 1-2 months. We are flying to Boston March 12th and plan on flying to Canada to wait for our approval to qualify for this exemption. Can we somehow overlap 2 sets of our 30 days in the US for the year July 13, 2016 – July 13, 2017 so we can stay in the US from March 12th-May 12th(60 says) and still quailfy for an exemption?

Can we somehow qualify for the exemption of being allowed a couple months grace period, then apply the expemtion of being out of the country for 330 days on top of that one?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

Phew, I don’t envy you, feel like I am taking my SAT again.

So from what I understand the rule is pretty strict, you can always take 330 consecutive days, but the rules for what counts as a gap are pretty clear.


Other things to keep in mind:

1. you can still take the coverage gap exemption.
2. Some foreign insurance protects you from the fee (not travelers’ but foreign). So if you are living somewhere and have access to that coverage you could be ok.

So, I think in your case you can use one 330 before the gap, one 330 after, and then the in-between would probably be exempt via the coverage gap exemption. That is though a little too complex a situation to offer a definitive answer. Make sure to check out the IRS guidance. I might even call them in a case like this.

Gabriela Torres on

Good afternoon. Im a U.S citizen living in Peru for the last 5 years. Now i have to go back to the states because of my health. I want to know how to get coverage in order to get medical attention.Im a Cancer patient.

Diane on

My daughter left for School in England in September of 2016. She paid her healthcare bull through September 2016. Since then, she’s been attending Durham University and has been fully covered by their health insurance plan. She will return to the U.S. in September of 2017. How does she prove to the IRS that she has had insurance this whole time?

Thank you.

Terry on

We live abroad 7 years ago and never in the US for more than 25 days, do I qualify for the exception? do I have to file the form 8965 only or I need an exception certificate number to apply? how and were do I get the exception certificate?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

Yes, if you are a citizen, but this is the case, you essentially qualify for the exemption each year… but do need to fill out form 8965 when you file your taxes each year.

Paul on

I enrolled in the ACA during the 2017 enrollment period Nov 2016 while I was living in the US, then went on holiday overseas in Dec 2016. Once I was overseas I lost my residence (I was staying with my elderly parents helping with thier care, but while I was out of the country my neice moved them to assisted living where I am only allowed to visit but can not live with them), so I decided to stay overseas and canceled my ACA plan after the first month (I was on the ACA for the month of Jan which was 100% subsidized about $700 for the month). I spoke to the ACA people and they just said to file my 2017 taxes and use my foreign address and not to worry about it because they had no forms or procedure for someone with my circumstances. Is this correct and what are the rules for someone that moves out of the country after they sign up and then cancel once they realize they’re not returning to the US for long while, I am still overseas now for the whole year? I may come back for to visit for a few weeks in Nov 2017 but don’t plan on returning to live in the US until 2018 at the soonest. What a mess trying to navigate this ACA, I don’t mind paying back the first month I was on the ACA and had gone overseas but I can’t get any answers on how to handle this situation, Paul

Huse on

I am a US citizen but have been a resident of Germany since August 2016. When is the earliest I can stop paying for US healthcare? If I take the 3 month rule, I could technically have October 2017 be my last month of payment because I would pass the bona fide resident test when I file taxes April 2018?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

I would call the marketplace on this because it can be really complex. Generally though, you can take your 330 days starting at any point in the year. So if you had coverage up until August, then you know you will pass the foreign presence test, I am almost 100% certain that you can drop coverage from August forward and take the 330 day exemption starting in August using form 8965.

I would however call the marketplace and clarify specifics about this tactic. I’ve read through the documents a few times, but I am not a tax professional and obviously you don’t want to miss a detail that might be eluding me.

Lola on

Hasn’t this law changed for 2018? I am an American and am back in the US for the first time for a few years. I’d like to stay 2.5 months but my health insurance does not cover the US and I cannot afford to get coverage while I am in the states. Will I be exempt with the 3-month coverage gap exemption?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

This is a complex situation. I would call and request guidance from healthcare.gov. Technically the mandate is still in effect and you would be invalidating the 330 day rule by coming. However, a lot changed under the Trump administration and there might be a flexibility in there for you.

The 3 month coverage gap generally works if you have coverage for other months, but don’t for less than 3 months. Not sure how it would or if it would work with having foreign coverage. Again, because it is complex, I’d check with healthcare.gov.

Jackie Chen on

My husband and I (both US citizens) are moving to Taiwan and traveling in Asia starting mid June 2018 and at least for the rest of 2018. We have coverage from employer until end of June, and we are not sure if it is required to get health insurance for the rest of 2018 which we are not able to access from outside of US in any case (and our COBRA costs a few hundred a month per person). We are not sure when to return to the US in 2019, but from the news it seems like health insurance is not mandatory starting 2019. Does that mean we might be able to pay COBRA until the end of September to be eligible for 3-month waiting period until 2019 when health insurance is not required? Thanks a lot in advance.

ObamaCareFacts.com on

If you have had coverage all year, and then you go without for less than 3 months (2 months and 29 days for example) then you shouldn’t have to worry about it.

So you could do COBRA until October and then take Nov – Dec off (as most plans won’t let you stop mid-month).

You can always call the marketplace and get direction from them.