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The Affordable Care Act calls for individuals to have qualifying health insurance coverage for each month of the year, and the Internal Revenue Service is watching.

Individuals must have coverage, an exemption, or make a shared responsibility payment when filing their federal income tax return next year, an IRS news release states.

Qualifying health insurance coverage, called "minimum essential coverage," includes coverage under various, but not all, types of health care coverage plans. The majority of coverage that people have today counts as "minimum essential coverage."

Examples of minimum essential coverage include: Health insurance coverage provided by an employer; health insurance purchased through the Health Insurance Marketplace in the area you live, where you may qualify for financial assistance; coverage provided under a government-sponsored program for which you are eligible (including Medicare, Medicaid and health care programs for veterans); health insurance purchased directly from an insurance company; and other health insurance coverage that the Department of Health & Human Services recognizes as minimum essential coverage.

Minimum essential coverage does not include coverage providing only limited benefits. Examples of limited benefits include coverage consisting solely of stand-alone vision and dental insurance, workers' compensation, or accident and disability income insurance.

Another example of limited benefits includes Medicaid plans that provide limited coverage, such as only family planning services or only treatment of emergency medical conditions.

More information about the types of coverage that qualify and don't qualify as minimum essential coverage can be found on the IRS Individual Shared Responsibility webpage at and answers to specific questions can be found on the question and answer page.

Find out more about the health care law at Although open enrollment is over, some people who have a "qualifying life event" like having a baby or adopting a child, may qualify for a special enrollment period.

Posted 9:58 AM

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