A payment (“penalty,” “fine,” “individual mandate”) you make if you don’t have health insurance that counts as qualifying health coverage. For 2016 and 2017, the penalty is either: 2.5% of your household income or $695 per adult ($347.50 per child), whichever is higher. The fee rises with inflation. Final 2018 amounts will be published when available.
If you’re uncovered just some months of the year, you pay 1/12 of the penalty for each month you’re uninsured. If you’re uncovered for only 1 or 2 consecutive months, you don’t have to pay the fee at all.
You’ll pay the penalty on your federal income tax return. The IRS calls the fee the Shared Responsibility Payment.
People with very low incomes and some others may be eligible for health care exemptions.