Q. What is PPACA (ACA) otherwise known as “Obamacare” ?
A. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which many people refer to as the “Obamacare” is the healthcare reform that President Obama introduced in March 2010 and implemented in 2014.
Q. Do I need to have a ACA plan as an international student?
A. This plan is not required by all. The ACA plan only applies to those who are U.S. citizens, permanent residents and resident aliens. Once you are an F, M, Q or J visa holder, you may be exempt from being treated as a resident alien.
Exempt Individual - Who is a Student
A student is any individual who is temporarily in the United States on an "F, " "J, " "M, " or "Q " visa for the primary purpose of studying at an academic institution or vocational school, and who substantially complies with the requirements of that visa.
What are the statutory exemptions from the requirement to obtain minimum essential coverage?
Income below the income tax return filing requirement. Your income is below the minimum threshold for filing a tax return. The requirement to file a federal tax return depends on your filing status, age and types and amounts of income. To find out if you are required to file a federal tax return, use the IRS Interactive Tax Assistant (ITA).
http://www.irs.gov/uac/Questions-and-Answers-on-the-Individual-Shared-Responsibility-Provision (Refer to item 6.4)
You may also speak with a school advisor to find out if your school requires its international students to have an ACA plan.
Q. What if I am an international student who has been in the U.S. for more than five years?
A. If you are an international who has been in the U.S. for more than five years, you may no longer be exempt.
When a Student is Not Exempt
You will not be an exempt individual as a student if you have been exempt as a teacher, trainee, student, Exchange Visitor, or Cultural Exchange Visitor on an "F, " "J, " "M, " or "Q " visa for any part of more than 5 calendar years, unless you establish to the satisfaction of the IRS that you do not intend to reside permanently in the United States, and you have substantially complied with the requirements of your nonimmigrant status.
http://www.irs.gov/uac/Questions-and-Answers-on-the-Individual-Shared-Responsibility-Provision (Refer to item 6)
Q. If I do not need to have an ACA plan, what plans should I apply for?
A. As a full time international student, you are eligible to purchase our student insurance plans, which can be found from our website, www.isoa.org.
Q. If I am on OPT, what plans am I eligible for? Are we required to have the Obamacare plan?
A. As an OPT visa holder, you are still eligible to purchase our plans such as the OPTima Basic Plan and OPTima Enhanced Plan. You may be required to purchase an ACA plan if you are in the US for more than 5 years and/or your income is above the minimum threshold for filing a tax return. For more details regarding your status, please speak with a tax consultant for refer to the link below.
Q. If I am not exempt but decide not to purchase an ACA plan what will happen?
A. Most likely you will have to pay a penalty. The penalty is calculated one of 2 ways- percentage based or a flat dollar amount. If you don’t have insurance that qualifies as minimum essential coverage you'll pay whichever of these amounts is higher:
A. If none of the exemption fits your visa status, you may visit HealthCare.gov to select a plan that is most appropriate for you. Or, you may consult with a tax advisor, in order to avoid being penalized when filing for tax.