WASHINGTON Jan 23 The Obama administration on
Thursday said people enrolled in some small,
government-sponsored healthcare plans will not face a penalty
under Obamacare in 2014, even though their coverage does not
meet the healthcare reform law's minimum requirements.
In proposed rules released by the Internal Revenue Service,
the administration said narrowly defined government coverage
including programs limited to family planning or
tuberculosis-related services through Medicaid do not meet
minimum essential coverage standards.
Ordinarily, President Barack Obama's Patient Protection and
Affordable Care Act would require someone who lacks minimum
coverage to pay a penalty.
But the IRS is proposing that individuals in certain plans
pay no penalty for failing to have minimum essential healthcare
for this year. These individuals may be eligible for a premium
tax credit to get healthcare coverage on a state or federal
health insurance marketplace, the proposed rules said.
The exemption includes people deemed medically needy due to
crippling healthcare costs, enrollees in special Medicaid
demonstrations and military personnel enrolled in programs with
The announcement comes on the heels of an administration
decision to offer hardship exemptions to people who had their
individual policies canceled last year because they fail to meet
Obamacare's standards for minimum coverage. That
decision was part of the administration's response to a public
outcry that devastated Obama's poll numbers and worried
But Thursday's proposed rules, which would affect a small
but undetermined number of people, have been in the works since
at least last August, when the IRS published regulations on the
Obamacare requires most Americans to be enrolled in health
coverage by March 31 or pay a 2014 penalty of $95 or 1 percent
of annual household income, whichever is higher. The penalty is
scheduled to rise in subsequent years.
(Reporting by Patrick Temple-West; Editing by Eric Walsh)