I just started a new job and they will not let me enroll to the health insurance I will be getting until March 1st. Will I get penalized for not having 2 weeks of health insurance? Or do I need to buy health insurance for two weeks? Will companies cover me for only two weeks? My job won’t let me fill out the paperwork until March 1st.


You can go less than three full months without coverage. If you miss more time, but do get covered, only the first two months are exempt. In your case you will owe the fee for one month. However, you may be able to get around this by applying to the Marketplace. Exemptions can change each year, in the past there has been exemption for those who signed up for the Marketplace but had trouble enrolling, but as a general rule of thumb one must enroll during open enrollment (unless they have a life event that qualifies them for special enrollment).

Check with your employer about start dates. Typically there is a 90 day waiting period to enroll. If the start date of the coverage is any later you can consider getting a plan through HealthCare.Gov in the meantime. You can still get cost assistance up until the point that your employer coverage starts.

Learn more about coverage gap exemptions and other exemptions.

NOTE: To be clear, the coverage gap exemption is "less than three months" so one day short is fine, one day over and you owe the fee for the extra month. You are exempted from 2, and as long as you have coverage for 1 day in the third month you are safe (effectively then the exemption covers you for "less than three" but "almost three" months.

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Melissa Mazur on

Answer Rating:

Does it make a difference that for the first month I had no income? I know previous years that made me exempt, so would I be exempt for one month then considered as using 2 months? I have enrollment March 1st. Would that be considered within 3 months?

susan on

My last day of health coverage was July 31,2015 due to change of work status.I applied for medical coverage since first week of August but i havent gotten any response for my coverage.Effective Oct 18 i will have a benefited position again and i called HR that it will be effective following month whic i am not sure.Will i be penalized?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

You may be able to claim an exemption due to the details of your application for coverage, but the Marketplace would need to determine this (you’ll need to contact them). However, if you had coverage since open enrollment you won’t need to. You get less than 3 full months exempt and that covers the full month of Sept and the full month of Aug. You will have coverage for at least one day in Jul and will for one in Oct, so you had coverage for those months as far as the mandate is concerned.

Why? on

Can you have someone that writes English answer these questions.

ObamaCareFacts.com on

Just double checked the answers (we don’t write the questions, our users do). I’m not sure what you are getting at. Feel free to ask specific questions.

Francesca Defranchis on

My situation is complicated.
I was without insurance for 3 months because my husband lost his job, we didn’t know what to do without any income. Then with the help of a consultant we got enrolled. She said the we could apply for an exemption for those 3 months.
On September, my husband lost his unemployment but I was working at that time, I contacted the NYSTH and they made a mistake, they miss read my checks and cut us off from Sept 30. After spending weeks and weeks at the phone on Dec 22nd I received a call from an officer which asked me if I want to reinstate my insurance . I couldn’t pay 3 past months and don’t be able to use it. The I paid for the month of October in order to have only 2 months left. So now I have 1Gap of 3 months (march/april/may) because we lost our income. 2Gap (Nov/Dec) I believe I am eligible for an exemptions based on 2 different facts and pay only 1 month penalty.

ObamaCareFacts.com on

So you can only use the “less than three months” exemption for one of the gaps. The other gap would need another exemption from 8965. The other exemption could be the “no affordable coverage” or “other” exemption. You are right, it’s a specifically strange case so there is no standard exemption. I am not 100% sure what exactly to do, but the answer likely rests in a close reading of the many exemptions of form 8965 as applied to your specific situation. https://obamacarefacts.com/form-8965-health-coverage-exemptions/

Francesca on

why don’t you answer to my question ????

ObamaCareFacts.com on

The answer is simple. We are a free-to-use private information website run by a very small team. This is contrasted by the government funded healthcare.gov who has a 24/7 helpline. We are always happy to answer questions, but it is done at the pace we can handle. Immediate questions should always be directed to official sources.

Jes on

I lost my job at the end of last year but my coverage extended to Dec 1st. My husband’s company STILL has not provided the requested quite or paperwork, staying enrollment BEGINS March 1st. Meaning, I will not have coverage until at least halfway through March if not longer, as his company is BAD at filing paperwork on time. What, if anything, can I do to protect us from being penalized on 2016 taxes? Would a letter from his company be enough for the IRS to believe that we have been trying? And is there a law that forces the company’s hand with the paperwork? We requested a quote an dB paperwork around Dec 15th.

Emily on

Can you please update this information for 2016? Wondering how long it is legal to go without health insurance in 2016

ObamaCareFacts.com on

It has been updated, nothing much of note changed with exemptions listed on 8965 this year: https://obamacarefacts.com/form-8965-health-coverage-exemptions/

We won’t know about 2016 coverage until the IRS releases the updated form.

But to your question, you can go less than 3 full months without coverage each year “for free”, beyond that you should look at the exemption list to see which if any apply. One can use multiple exemptions of different types in the same year (although not all pair).

Jen on

I lost my insurance Septemer 1, 2016. That puts me at 4 months without coverage for 2016. What kind of penalty am I looking at paying if I don’t get coverage ?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

You have to pay a per-month fee based on total MAGI income and family size up to the cost of the second lowest cost sliver plan in your marketplace. Unfortunately I don’t know a simpler way to put it. Check out the fees here: https://obamacarefacts.com/obamacare-mandate-exemption-penalty/

Angel on

To whom this may concern,


I am just looking over a few things and I had a few questions. Ok first question is for my 2015 taxes I didn’t have medical insurance because I had started a new job and I had to wait the three months before I can get insurance through my work and so I didn’t have insurance for three months in 2015 and when I filed my taxes I think and believe I got penalties for the three months I had to wait the tax company I went through didn’t ask me why I didn’t have insurance or anything they just ask how many months I went with out insurance and i believe I got penalties for he three months, is there anything thing I can do about that? And another thing is I been trying this year to get medical insurance through wel-fare since I had got laid off from may job in December 2015 I have the latter form wel-fare denieding me, is there anything I can do this year for taxes so I wont get penalized or b in debt with the IRS?

Thank you for your time

Mubashir Ahmad on

My student health insurance ended on 14 August 2016 and my insurance with employer doesn’t start until 1st October 2016. I checked with my school they don’t offer any extension program and I am not been able to get any insurance right now. So can I go without insurance till 1st October, will it result in me paying any fine?

Sean McManus on

is there any downside as far as benefits if I have a gap of two months of insurance. I was recently laid off and if I get new job I will become eligible for insurance on Dec 2016. So that will be no insurance for the months of Oct and Nov. – I understand from reading this that I will not be financially penalized but are ther other ramifications to be concerned with?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

The only downside to the exempted gap (of less than three full months) is that if you get sick and don’t have coverage, then you have an obvious problem. The other consideration is that a new contract means a new deductible, so starting a contract in November and then it reseting in January 1st is lame if you don’t account for it.

Nayeli Hernandez on

I have Medical but I will start a new job October 28 and make more income meaning I won’t qualify for medical and will be terminated. I looked for other insurance but I won’t be cover until December 1st. Will I have a problem when filling taxes?

Kerri on

Will I get hit with a penalty if I lost my insurance coverage on 02/01/2016 and regained new coverage on 05/01/2016?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

Yes, as far as the “less than three month” exemption goes you are really pushing it. That said, if you had coverage for 1 day in February then you are 100% safe, if you didn’t then it isn’t “less than three” it is “exactly three”… I would have to research to see if this would cut it. It seems reasonable, but the IRS is all about specific rulesets not just reason.

Nick ross on

Thank goodness this nightmare is almost over! Hurry up republicans tired of paying $900 dollars a month for junk coverage!

maria on

Last year I was on Achess and I was denied. So I was only covered from January until end of April for full health insurance and at work during that time frame of 2016 I did have insurance for eye and dental insurance for full year does that count as well to having some type of health coverage for 2016 as well??? I had no insurance from May until my open enrollment at work which was in November and I believe took affect in December .
Do i count as having insurance still for those 4month and the full year for eye an dental or do I own a fine?

Tony on

If I lost my job in September and didn’t have insurance from 10/1/16-12/31/16 but applied for Medicaid in November, would I owe a fee for 2016? My Medicaid app is still pending as of 1/28/17. If I get a job now that offers insurance making me ineligible for Medicaid applied for in 11/2016, would that affect any fee for the 2016 3 month gap?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

This is a complex situation, so generally I’m fairly certain (but not 100% certain and you should double check with this marketplace):

If end up getting approved for Medicaid and the coverage begins retroactively then you don’t owe the fee, if that isn’t the case then you would owe the fee as the gap was exactly three months (not less than three months). That said, it is right on the line.

Adding the job to that, the job doesn’t disqualify you, getting coverage at the job does. You probably had a 90 day waiting period, so that wouldn’t affect things.

Kevin Dowdy on

I moved August 27th and started a new job on August 29th. I had insurance from January 1st through the month of August with my first employer. My new insurance started December 1st. So I missed September, October, and November. Will I have to pay a penalty?

Samantha Blakeley on

Hi there,

I had no health insurance in January and February of 2016. I started Medicaid in March 2016 and have been covered since.

If it matters, I didn’t have insurance in January because I had recently been removed from my parent’s health insurance. I missed out on February insurance because there was a mistake with my account being set up and the marketplace made me have to wait an extra month.

Can I be charged fees because I didn’t have health insurance for 60 days out of the year?

pecki on

me and my parents had moved to usa in feb 2016 and we were living with our aunt and uncle at that moment. He had added us into his health insurance but since we were new we had no clue how it works or how the health insurance is connected to taxes. After 3 months in the month for june we moved out due to family disputes and since then we haven’t spoken. I wanted to know what can be done since i don’t have the access to his account or the healthcare account, nor are we in talking terms & i have no idea how can i show those few months of insurance to the market place as it says we can’t access his account or they say they don’t have that information. Will we have to pay the penalty for the month of feb to May?? Please help I’m very confused.

Thank You.

ObamaCareFacts.com on

That is a very confusing situation. The best bet in a case like this is to contact the marketplace directly and seek answers from them.

Ryan on

The answer seems to contradict itself. First it says that you can go three months without coverage. But then it says that the person will owe a fee for one month although he/she is only going without insurance for 2 weeks. Given the 3-month grace period, couldn’t someone have a full 3-month gap insurance without owing a fee?

Thank you in advance for clarifying.

ObamaCareFacts.com on

The correct answer is up to 3 months. So 2 months and 1 days short of 3 months is safe, 3 months and 1 day isn’t.

It can be hard to phrase that correctly, thanks for catching the discrepancy. I added an extra note to the page to clarify this.