Individual Shared Responsibility Provision - Minimum Essential Coverage

The individual shared responsibility provision requires you and each member of your family to have qualifying health care coverage, qualify for a coverage exemption, or make an individual shared responsibility payment when you file your federal income tax return. Qualifying health care coverage is also called minimum essential coverage.

For Tax Year 2019 Returns

Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the amount of the individual shared responsibility payment is reduced to zero for months beginning after December 31, 2018

Beginning in Tax Year 2019, Form 1040 will not have the “full-year health care coverage or exempt” box and Form 8965, Health Coverage Exemptions, will no longer be used. You need not make a shared responsibility payment or file Form 8965, Health Coverage Exemptions, with your tax return if you don’t have a minimum essential coverage for part or all of 2019.

Form Tax Year 2018 and Prior Returns

Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, taxpayers must continue to report coverage, qualify for an exemption, or pay the individual shared responsibility payment for tax years 2017 and 2018.

For Tax Year 2018, the IRS will not consider a return complete and accurate if the taxpayer does not report full-year coverage, claim a coverage exemption, or report a shared responsibility payment on the tax return.

Most taxpayers have qualifying health care coverage for all 12 months in the year.  Check the box if you had qualifying health care coverage or a coverage exemption that covered all of 2018 or a combination of qualifying health care coverage and coverage exemptions for yourself, your spouse (if filing jointly), and anyone you can or do claim as a dependent. If you can’t check the box, you generally must report a shared responsibility payment on Schedule 4, line 61, for each month that you, your spouse (if filing jointly), or someone else you can or do claim as a dependent didn’t have qualifying health care coverage or a coverage exemption.

Minimum Essential Coverage

See the Instructions for Form 8965, Health Coverage Exemptions for more information about Minimum Essential Coverage.

If you need information about minimum essential coverage for a prior year, see that year's version of Form 8965. 

Additional Information

Almost all taxpayers must report health care coverage, claim a coverage exemption or report a shared responsibility payment. 

If you and everyone on your tax return had health coverage for every month of the year, then you will simply check the box on Form 1040.  No further action is required.

You are considered to have minimum essential coverage for the entire month as long as you are enrolled in and entitled to receive benefits under a qualifying plan or program for at least one day during that month.

If you are otherwise not required to file a tax return, you do not need to file a return solely to report your coverage.

You do not need to attach documentation or proof of minimum essential coverage to your tax return. Although nothing in the IRS rules or regulations requires you to provide proof of coverage at the time you file, if you have documents that verify your minimum essential coverage, you should show them to your tax preparer. The IRS will follow its normal compliance approach to filed tax returns and may ask you to substantiate the information on your tax return. Therefore, you should keep these documents with your tax records.  Learn more about the types of documents you should keep at our Gathering Your Health Coverage Documentation page.

If you do not have minimum essential coverage and wish to obtain it through the Health Insurance Marketplace, the Marketplace has an open enrollment period each year as well as special enrollment periods for eligible taxpayers.  For information about enrollment periods, which health insurance options are available to you, how to purchase health insurance coverage, and how to apply for financial assistance with the cost of insurance, visit