Health Insurance

Is It Mandatory To Have Health Insurance in 2022?

Alexis Bryan02 Sep 2021

There is no federal penalty for not having health insurance in 2022, but four states and D.C. will impose a tax penalty on those who do not. Since 2019, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has not had an individual mandate penalty for the uninsured, which will remain the case in 2022.

Nonetheless, it is important to have healthcare coverage in case of emergency and to access affordable preventative care services. Mira offers flexible membership plans for people looking for an alternative to expensive health insurance premiums through the exchange. For $45 per month, you can access low-copay urgent care visits, lab testing, and other essential health care services with ease.

State-Imposed Health Insurance Coverage Mandates

Even though the federal penalty, also called an “Obamacare penalty,” for those who are uninsured was repealed, states have the ability to impose tax penalties on their residents. The table below shows the tax penalties for 2022 in each state.

Tax Penalties for Those Who are Uninsured by State

StateTax Penalty
  • No penalty if your income is up to 150% of the poverty level
  • 50% of the premium for the lowest-cost ConnectorCare plan if your income is between 150.1-300% of the poverty level
  • 50% of the cost of the lowest-cost bronze plan available through the Massachusetts Health Connector if your income is over 300% of the poverty level
New Jersey
  • The maximum penalty is based on the average cost of a bronze plan in New Jersey
  • The penalty for non-compliance will be based on the federal individual mandate penalty that applied in 2018 (i.e., $695 per uninsured adult, or 2.5 percent of household income)
Rhode Island
  • Modeled after the ACA individual mandate of 2018
  • The greater of $695 per uninsured adult (half the amount for a child)
  • Up to a maximum of $2,085 per family, or 2.5 percent of income
  • The maximum penalty will be equal to the cost of the average bronze plan in Rhode Island
District of Columbia
  • The maximum penalty is based on the average cost of a bronze plan in DC

Open Enrollment for Health Insurance

Open enrollment is the time period when you can enroll in a health insurance plan through the Marketplace. Coverage begins the first day of the month after you sign up.

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For states that use the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchange, the 2022 open enrollment period (OEP) begins November 1, 2021, and ends December 15, 2021. States that have their own ACA exchange may have different date ranges. These are listed in the table below.

Open Enrollment Period by State

StateState Open Enrollment Period for 2022 Plans
CaliforniaNovember 2021 – TBD
ColoradoNovember 1, 2021 – January 15, 2022
MarylandNovember 1, 2021 – December 15, 2021
MassachusettsNovember 1, 2021 – January 23, 2022
MinnesotaNovember 2021 – TBD
NevadaNovember 1, 2021 – January 15, 2022
New JerseyNovember 1, 2021 – January 31, 2022
New YorkFebruary 17, 2021 – December 31, 2021
Rhode IslandNovember 1, 2021 – TBD
VermontNovember 1, 2021 – December 15, 2021
Washington DCNovember 1, 2021 – January 31, 2022
WashingtonNovember 1, 2021 – TBD

Special Enrollment Period

Various qualifying events allow you to obtain coverage during the Special Enrollment Period. You will need proof of the event but have 60 or 90 days to enroll in the plan. Qualifying life events include:

  • Losing health coverage
  • Moving
  • Getting married or divorced
  • Having a baby
  • Adopting a child
  • Becoming a United States citizen

Alternatives to Health Insurance Through the Exchange

Health insurance premiums are often expensive and out of reach for many who need access to affordable care. Since there are no penalties for being uninsured in 2022, many people seek health coverage elsewhere. Fortunately, there are alternatives to traditional health insurance plans.

Short Term Health Insurance

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are going through transitional periods and have a lapse in health care coverage. Short-term health insurance can be a temporary option to protect you from expensive medical bills. You are eligible for short-term coverage if you:

  • Change jobs
  • Lose employer-sponsored coverage
  • Are you waiting for the annual Open Enrollment Period
  • Attend out-of-state college
  • Other specific instances

Health Insurance Alternatives

Health insurance alternatives can be in the form of care membership programs. These are often less expensive and easier to enroll in than traditional health insurance plans. Mira is an alternative to health insurance that helps you access affordable essential services like urgent care centers and lab testing.

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2022 Health Insurance Plans Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Open enrollment for 2022 health insurance plans is only a few months away, so we answer a few common questions below. While you are not mandated to have health insurance, there are important considerations when opting out of health insurance.

Will my current ACA health insurance plan automatically renew?

If you are already enrolled in a health insurance plan through your state’s marketplace, your plan will automatically renew if available for the following year. Those who live in Maine, Kentucky, and New Mexico will need to claim their new accounts as those states transition away from, but auto-renewal is an option for all other enrollees. 

Even if you are satisfied with your current plan, auto-renewal is not always the best option. During open enrollment, you should shop around to see if a health insurance plan better suits your needs for three main reasons. 

  1. You are Locked In. If you do not change your current plan, you will be automatically enrolled in the same plan on the last day of open enrollment (December 15th in most states). This means you will not have a chance to change your mind later.
  2. Subsidies Change Year to Year. Another thing to consider is the amount of your subsidy. Subsidies change year to year, which could result in a higher premium for you and your family. If you browse around for other plans, you could save a substantial amount of money.
  3. If your plan is discontinued, auto-renewal will result in the exchange or your insurer picking a new plan. There is no guarantee you will be enrolled in a similar plan as the one you were previously enrolled in. They will try to assign you the closest plan, but again, there is no guarantee.

How do I enroll in a health insurance plan during open enrollment?

You can enroll for a health insurance plan online, over the phone, or in person. To enroll, you will need the following information:

  • Name, address, email address, social security number, birthday, and proof of citizenship status
  • Household size and income if you want to apply for subsidies (to prove your income, you can provide pay stubs, W2s, your most recent tax return, etc.)
  • Coverage details and premium for an employer-sponsored plan that’s available to anyone in your household
  • Payment information for your premiums
  • Your doctors’ names and zip codes so that you can check to make sure they’re in-network
  • A list of medications taken by anyone who will be covered under the policy (to make sure the new plan covers them)
  • If you want to enroll in a catastrophic plan and are 30 or older, you’ll need a hardship exemption.

Bottom Line

There are no federal mandates to have health insurance in 2022 or tax penalties in most states. Few states have enacted penalties for insured, including Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, California, and Washington D.C.

Regardless of whether your state has a penalty, it is a good idea to have health coverage, whether through a traditional health insurance plan, short-term coverage, or an alternative option like Mira.