Do I need to buy health insurance?

Most people are required to have health insurance by March 31 or pay a penalty. The good news is that people in Washington state already have coverage. But if you're one of the nearly 1 million people in our state who are uninsured or if you're struggling to pay for your insurance, you might qualify for tax credits or financial assistance. Here's how it works:

Tax credits

If you're an individual making between $15,281 - $45,960 a year or are a family of four earning less than $94,200, you could qualify for tax credits ( to help you buy a health plan in Washington's Healthplanfinder. The amount of assistance you'll get depends on your income.

Free coverage

If you're an individual earning less than $15,281 a year and are a legal resident of Washington state, you could qualify for free coverage (


If you don't have health insurance by March 31 of this year, most people will have to pay a penalty ( of $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, up to $285 for a family or 1 percent of their household income, whichever is greater. The penalty increases to $325 or 2 percent of household income in 2015 and $695 or 2.5 percent of household income in 2016.

You're exempt from the requirement to have health insurance if:

  • You're low income
  • You're a member of a recognized Indian tribe
  • You have a religious objection to buying insurance
  • You live outside the U.S.
  • You've been uninsured for less than three months
  • Your employer's health plan is unaffordable (if it costs more than eight percent of your household income)
  • You're enrolled in a health care sharing ministry

Updated 03/31/2014

See also

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