My wife is a US citizen who lives outside the US. We were married in July and she was here for only 21 days. She doesn’t have health insurance and under the residency requirement, she is exempt. However she has to come back to the US in November and will likely be here for more than a month. That means she would have been outside the US for less than 330 days this year. Does she need to get health insurance as soon as she arrives and if she does apply, will she get it right away? And if she does not, does she pay the penalty for only the months she was in the US without health coverage?
All US citizens, who qualify based on income, must obtain coverage or an exemption. For someone traveling back and forth between the U.S. they can be exempt for spending 330 consecutive days in the year outside the US.
This doesn't seem like it would apply in her situation as every-time she comes back it resets the clock. For better or worse a person who is subject to the fee, but travels, still must maintain coverage, pay the fee, or find another exemption.
The fee is only owed for months she doesn't have minimum essential coverage. Travelers insurance doesn't count, but major medical plans that provide emergency coverage out of the country and some types of foreign coverage do as well.