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4 New Exemptions To The Tax Penalty For Lacking Health Insurance

There already have been more than a dozen reasons U.S. consumers can use to avoid paying the penalty for not having health insurance. Now the federal government has added four more.

These "hardship exemptions" let people off the hook if they can't find a marketplace plan that meets not only their coverage needs but also reflects their view if they are opposed to abortion.

It's unclear how significant the impact will be, policy analysts say. That's because starting in tax year 2019 the penalty for not having health insurance will be eliminated, so the new exemptions will mostly apply to penalty payments for 2018 taxes and in the previous two years.

"I think the exemptions ... may very marginally increase the number of healthy people who don't buy health insurance on the individual market," says Timothy Jost, emeritus professor of law at Washington and Lee University in Virginia, whose specialty is health law.

Under the new rules, people can apply for a hardship exemption that excuses them from having to have health i