Prepare now for new state minimum essential coverage individual health care mandate September 2019 Tax News

By enacting Senate Bill 78 (Chapter 38, Statutes of 2019), the Legislature created the Minimum Essential Coverage Individual Mandate ("Mandate").   The Mandate takes effect on January 1, 2020, and requires Californians to maintain minimum essential coverage for each month on or after that date. Californians who fail to have qualifying health coverage will owe a state penalty for each month they lack coverage. In addition, those responsible for ensuring their spouse or dependents maintain coverage may owe a penalty if their spouse or dependents do not have minimum essential coverage. Californians who owe a penalty will pay when they file their tax year 2020 state income tax return in early 2021.

To avoid this penalty, California residents need to have monthly qualifying health insurance for themselves, their spouse and their dependents beginning on January 1, 2020.

Covered California, the state’s insurance marketplace, will provide financial assistance to some households that meet certain income requirements, and issue certificates of exemptions to individuals who are exempt from the Mandate.