Is It Illegal To Not Have Health Insurance In The US? All You Need To Know

We all have asked this question to ourselves at least once whether it is illegal to not have health insurance in the US. The answer to this lies in the history of healthcare laws. But before we delve deeper into the topic, let us be very clear that health insurance whether made mandatory by law or not, is important to have as it enables you to get through unforeseen and disturbing situations.

A History Lesson

People still ask is it illegal to not have health insurance and the answer is no, it is not. It is not illegal to not have any health insurance. The historic details tell us why.

The second president of the US, John Adams in 1798 laid the foundation of what is known today as Public Health Services by signing Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen into law. It was an affordable healthcare act that did not require everyone to have insurance.

Later in the course of history, we have seen numerous changes and amendments into health related laws, but the most significant of them all is Obamacare, which is formally referred to as Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Obama made it mandatory for millions of people in America to buy healthcare insurance coverage. It means that to be entitled to the benefits of Obamacare, the individual was required to have health insurance coverage.

Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act is still active but the clauses concerning the individual mandate is not enforced at the federal level.

There are five states and the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.) that have a law for individuals to have such insurance in place to avail themselves the benefits. However, legally speaking it is not mandatory.

What Is The Affordable Care Act

The Obama administration came up with a comprehensive Affordable Care Act generally known as Obamacare – to address healthcare concerns of the common public. It was promulgated on March 23, 2010. If you had been asking the question is it illegal to not have health insurance back then, that yes at that time it was illegal. But not today.

Obamacare ensures that Americans have access to good, affordable health care facilities and medications. This was done to control the cost factors related to such situations.

What Is The Patient Protection Act

This act contains the provisions that are meant to protect basic patient rights and help them access healthcare facilities with ease. The government provides subsidies or financial aid as well as premium tax credits or refunds a portion of the tax paid by a person to compensate for their medication expenses. The law further expands its support to help people with low incomes.

Why ACA Was Given So Much Importance?

This act works like an insurance policy to help people pay off their healthcare expenses. The government provides subsidies and tax cuts or tax refunds for people who have health problems and need financial support.

This financial assistance is for low-income households. That is, if you are making $12,760 per year, you are entitled to get financial help.

According to the American law, if your income is low, but it is more than the threshold of 400% of $12,760 then you will not get any financial benefits. If you calculate your income and it is more than four times of $12,760, then you will not be getting any help. $1,276 is the base value for calculating if you can get ACA support or not.

The main question remains: Is it illegal to not have health insurance? No, it is not, but you will not be supported financially if you are earning enough.

Who Can Get These Benefits

Any American citizen is entitled to get access to healthcare benefits, as per the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. But one has to fulfill a certain criterion. The individual’s income must be between $12,000 to about $50,000.

Non-Americans can also avail the benefits of Affordable Care Act, as long as they are legally residing in the country.

The Specific Aims Of These Acts

After many amendments and revisions, the following are the core concerns that ACA addresses to help the common public.

Healthcare As A Basic Right

This act is meant to provide affordable healthcare insurance coverage for every individual, right from birth through the retirement age.

The Quality Of Healthcare Systems

All healthcare facilities are meant to provide fair and affordable health services to people in need.


One of the most important aims of healthcare insurance coverage is to improve efficiency and quality of life for everyone, by reducing extra expenses.

The Lengthening Of Primary Health Care

The act also aims at strengthening and extending all primary care benefits to the public.


Another important aim is to attract investments for all healthcare facilities.


We hope that your question is it illegal to not have health insurance has been answered. Of course, if you are earning over 400% of the federal poverty level, it would be good to have some health insurance coverage but it is not mandatory anymore.

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