Updated for Tax Year 2014
The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, requires most Americans to have health insurance that meets a government standard known as "minimum essential coverage," or MEC. Whether your insurance qualifies as MEC depends not on the plan itself, but on how you obtained your coverage.
Under Obamacare, any health insurance plan offered to you by an employer qualifies as minimum essential coverage (MEC). So if you and your family get health insurance through a job, you should have MEC which includes:
• Coverage for current employees
• Coverage for retirees
• COBRA continuation coverage, which allows former employees to hold onto their health insurance for a certain period of time after leaving an employer
College students who get health insurance from their school while they're enrolled are also considered to have MEC.
By definition, government health insurance programs provide minimum essential coverage (MEC). These programs include:
• Veterans' health care benefits
• Peace Corps volunteers' health insurance
An "individual" health insurance plan is one you buy directly from an insurance company. That makes it different from the "group" plans typically offered by employers.
The following types of individual health insurance plans also are automatically considered to offer minimum essential coverage (MEC):
• Any individual health insurance plan you had before Obamacare went into effect and you were allowed to keep it
• Any plan you bought through a state or federal online insurance marketplace set up under Obamacare
Other individual health insurance plans may also qualify. If in doubt, your insurance company should be able to tell you whether you have MEC.
What Doesn't Qualify
Certain health benefits don't count as MEC, even though they may seem like traditional health insurance in some ways. Examples of non-MEC benefits include:
• Plans that provide care only for a specific condition, rather than general medical coverage
Learn more about how health insurance works with TurboTax Health.