A union worker has to work so many hours before they are able to use the health insurance that their union provides. However, they must pay into the plan for every hour they work, even if they cannot use it. For example, if a union worker must work 120 hrs to be covered for the month, but only works 80 hrs, he paid in all 80 hrs but cannot use the plan. Is he considered to have had insurance for that month under the new law because he paid in, even if he cannot use it? The money taken out of his check is pre-tax dollars. And can he take a deduction on his tax return for what he paid in?
The rule of thumb is that if you have coverage for a month then you don't owe the fee, if you don't have coverage for at least one day of a month then you owe the fee.
In this case you have access to coverage, but can only use it for months where you pay in enough money. So the question is, does that count as actually being covered? Assuming you can only use the coverage if you meet the limit, the answer is either "no" or "you need an exemption".
However, those are just common sense answers based on our understanding of the law. We don't actually have an official answer to this question. We will research it. In the meantime we are going to post this up with the hopes that we can get some answers from the community.
If you have another related question or an answer, please post it below.