This “individual mandate” requires one to pay a fine for each month he or she did not have “minimum
essential coverage,” according to www.healthcare.gov. Although some exemptions apply, most U.S. citizens are required to be covered by insurance or risk paying a fee when they file their annual federal tax return the next year.
The penalty fee could amount to as much as 2.5 percent of one's household income or $695 per adult, whichever is more. The fee is only assessed for months in which the individual is not covered for health insurance. Those without insurance for one to two months may qualify for a “short gap” exemption that prevents any fines from being assessed.
The national health care debate could change this mandate, but for now it continues to be the law.