Is it illegal to not have health insurance in the USA?

Touseef Riaz

May 23, 2022

health insurance in the USA

Most of us are surrounded by whether it is illegal to not have health insurance. To find the answer to this question, you have to go through healthcare laws’ history.

Before diving into the topic, whether to have health insurance is mandatory or not, you must have it as it assists you in unexpected situations.

The cost of healthcare is dramatically rising in the USA, and it is one of the crucial challenges the state is facing.  If the US citizens ensure insurance coverage, their medical bills will be reduced, and they will receive quality treatment.


Back to History

Still, the question surrounds many people about whether is it illegal to not have health insurance in the United States, and the reply is not at all; it’s not illegal.

If you go back and open the history pages, you will find that John Adams was the first person to sign into law the Act for Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen. The insurance was not mandatory under this law, but it was an affordable plan.

There were numerous changes made in the healthcare laws, and the most vital among them is Obamacare, often referred to as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Under this Act, millions of Americans needed to have healthcare insurance to enjoy the benefits of the Obamacare healthcare policy.

Few states in America have imposed penalties on those who haven’t enrolled in health insurance, including California, New Jersey, Washington, etc. However, it is not mandatory if we speak from a legal perspective.

Regardless of whether the people are penalized for not having healthcare insurance, it’s essential to have it because you leverage multiple healthcare benefits.

Affordable Care Act (ACA)

The Obama government came up with the Affordable Care Act to provide healthcare insurance benefits. It was illegal not to have health insurance at that time, but today, it’s not illegal.

The cost of healthcare continuously hiked in the USA, and people without healthcare insurance find it difficult to afford expensive treatments. The Act was introduced to ensure the delivery of effective and affordable treatment. It was a significant step to control the problems occurring due to the rise in healthcare costs.

Patient Protection Act

Patient rights are protected under the Patient Protection Act, and effective healthcare services are provided without any hurdles. The US government offers financial aid or refunds tax portion as compensation to the patients to meet their medical expenses.

The step was taken to provide every US citizen with guaranteed healthcare services and help people with low incomes.

Is It Illegal To Not Have Health Insurance In New York?

Since 2014, NY has announced the penalty for uninsured individuals. The penalty requires paying the $695 per adult and $374.50 per child annually fine while they are submitting their tax.

Why Is the ACA Important?

ACA policy relates to providing people assistance to pay off their health expenses. The US government offers subsidies or tax refunds to patients facing health problems and financial support.

Financial assistance is only applicable to low-income people. If your earnings are less than 13,000 US dollars per year, then you are eligible to receive financial support.

According to American law, if you earn four times more than the average selected yearly income, you will not receive any financial help. The Act is eligible for those who cannot meet their medical expenses.

Are you the one living in California and thinking of is it illegal to not have health insurance in California? Then the answer is yes. California citizens must have healthcare insurance as per state law among the few other American states.

Let’s look at some of the critical points of ACA:

  • Any American citizen is eligible for ACA to receive healthcare benefits from the US government but under specific criteria. If your income is between 12 to 50 thousand US dollars per year, you can apply for financial assistance under this Act. Those who are non-Americans can also receive ACA benefits as long as they are US legal residents.
  • The specific aims of the Act are to help those Americans who are unable to afford expensive treatment costs and control healthcare costs.
  • More importantly, the ACA is considered a fundamental human right, and it is appropriate to provide affordable healthcare insurance coverage to every US citizen from birth to retirement age.
  • Healthcare quality is never compromised under this Act. Every person under this Act will receive quality treatment at affordable costs. The Act is designed to help people in need when unforeseen arise.
  • ACA acts as a crucial factor in the US healthcare industry to promote efficiency and life quality by controlling high health expenses.

What Should be Done?

Now you have gone through is it illegal not to have health insurance in the US. Health insurance is not mandatory in the US; few states require you to be insured to avoid the tax penalty.

Being a US citizen, you must have healthcare insurance to avoid healthcare-related financial issues. Most people ignore this, but you can enjoy healthcare benefits by being insured.

The medical costs in the US are continuously rising; one with a low income cannot afford US medical treatment. Therefore, it is highly crucial to be medically insured.

Bottom Line

We have reached the answer that it’s not illegal not to have health insurance in the US. There were multiple steps taken by the lawsuits on healthcare in the US.

Medical expenses are increasing in the United States, and those who are not medically insured can face serious financial problems in times of health risk.

ACA ensures quality treatment to US citizens having a low yearly income. You can receive financial aid or tax cuts in response to your healthcare needs.

One having a high yearly income will not receive any financial benefit under ACA.


Is it illegal in the US to not have health insurance?

No, it’s not illegal not to have health insurance at the federal level in the US. However, having healthcare insurance is beneficial to avoid high health treatment expenses.

Why is it considered illegal to not have health insurance?

It’s not illegal to not have health insurance, but one should have it if the yearly income is low. It will help to tackle unexpected health-related scenarios.

Is it illegal to not have health insurance for your child? 

No, it’s not illegal to not have health insurance for your child, but one should claim it, especially when the state is providing the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

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