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Does foreign health insurance count

I live and work in a foreign country where I have health insurance. Does this count as a yes to the "Did you have health insurance in 2016?" question?
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Level 1

Does foreign health insurance count

The answer to your question is that "it depends."  Foreign health insurance may, or it may not, qualify as "Minimal Essential Coverage" under the rules of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare).

Specifically, there are two factors that will absolutely exempt you from having to meet the minimal essential coverage requirements, where the US taxpayer primarily lives abroad:

  1. If you spend at least 330 days outside the country, you are absolutely exempt. This is called the Physical Presence Test (PPT).
  2. If you are considered a bona fide resident in a foreign country for the entire tax year, you are also exempt.  Many dual citizens who primarily live abroad will be able to, or already have established, residency in a foreign country. This is called the Bona Fide Resident Test (BFR).

Even where US taxpayers abroad cannot satisfy either the PPT or the BFR, certain foreign health insurance policies can count as minimum essential coverage, if they meet specific criteria.  To find out if your particular plan meets the Obamacare standards (although many foreign and international health insurance plans do not), you should call HealthCare.gov at 1-800-318-2596 and ask for a ruling on a specific plan.

However, the easiest way to avoid needing to do that is to qualify for an exclusion under the PPT or BFR rules described above.  In that case you would simply answer "Yes" to the TurboTax question about health insurance.  No further proof or evidence of having health insurance would be required, as long as one of the tests (PPT, BFR) is met.

Also, you may find this (4-page) government booklet about foreign health insurance matters helpful as well.

https://marketplace.cms.gov/technical-assistance-resources/foreign-insurance-coverage.pdf


Thank you for asking this important question.

1 Reply
Level 1

Does foreign health insurance count

The answer to your question is that "it depends."  Foreign health insurance may, or it may not, qualify as "Minimal Essential Coverage" under the rules of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare).

Specifically, there are two factors that will absolutely exempt you from having to meet the minimal essential coverage requirements, where the US taxpayer primarily lives abroad:

  1. If you spend at least 330 days outside the country, you are absolutely exempt. This is called the Physical Presence Test (PPT).
  2. If you are considered a bona fide resident in a foreign country for the entire tax year, you are also exempt.  Many dual citizens who primarily live abroad will be able to, or already have established, residency in a foreign country. This is called the Bona Fide Resident Test (BFR).

Even where US taxpayers abroad cannot satisfy either the PPT or the BFR, certain foreign health insurance policies can count as minimum essential coverage, if they meet specific criteria.  To find out if your particular plan meets the Obamacare standards (although many foreign and international health insurance plans do not), you should call HealthCare.gov at 1-800-318-2596 and ask for a ruling on a specific plan.

However, the easiest way to avoid needing to do that is to qualify for an exclusion under the PPT or BFR rules described above.  In that case you would simply answer "Yes" to the TurboTax question about health insurance.  No further proof or evidence of having health insurance would be required, as long as one of the tests (PPT, BFR) is met.

Also, you may find this (4-page) government booklet about foreign health insurance matters helpful as well.

https://marketplace.cms.gov/technical-assistance-resources/foreign-insurance-coverage.pdf


Thank you for asking this important question.