I searched and commented on another question here, and was prompted to ask my own question separately.
As you may be aware, US citizens without health insurance, as of this coming Sunday 31st January, are liable for the individual shared responsibility payment, described here.
I am aware that there are ways around this for expats, listed as such:
The Affordable Care Act will impact US taxpayers for the first time in fiscal year 2014, for which US income tax returns are filed in 2015. Americans living overseas should be aware of the important need to attach a completed Form 8965 (new) to their 1040. Form 8965 allows you to describe your status as an overseas resident, which indicates to the IRS that you benefit from "deemed covered" status by a foreign health plan and do not need to participate in a US plan. If you do not attach Form 8965, you may be subject to the $600 penalty for not having US health coverage.
US citizens living abroad are subject to the individual "shared responsibility" provision under the Affordable Care Act. However, US citizens who are NOT physically present in the United States for at least 330 full days within a 12-month period are treated as having "minimum essential coverage" for that 12-month period regardless of whether they enroll in any healthcare coverage.
In addtion, US citizens who are bona fide residents of a foreign country for an entire taxble year are treated as having minimum essential coverage for that year. (In general, these individuals qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion under Section 911.)
Individuals may qualify for this rule even if they cannot use the Section 911 exclusion for all of their foreign earned income because, for example, they are employees of the United States Government. Individulas who qualify for this rule need take no further action to comply with the individual share responasibility provision during the months when they qualify. They will report their status with their federal income tax return on Form 8965.
US citizens who do not meet the foreign physical presence or foreign residency requirements must have essential coverage, or qualify for a coverage exemption, or make an individual shared responsibility payment when they file their federal income tax returns. Note that "minimum essential coverage" includes a group health plan provided by an overseas employer.
Given that I visited family in the US twice this year (Christmas and briefly during summer), if those visits were in excess of 30 days (I'm not sure, have to check), does that mean I have to pay this fee?
I am not a permanent resident in my current country of residence, but I am a legal, tax-paying resident as of 3 months in this country and 5 years in the last and I am legally entitled to remain here in excess of one year (3 to be specific). I have been living outside the US for 5 years; I was on a student visa in the UK for the first 5 years, and I moved to France directly from the UK in October, where I am on a scientist visa for the next three years, which is liable to extension. Three years ago, it is possible that I spent 30 days in the US (the longest was 1.5 months in a summer 3 years ago) because I was doing temp work for a US company (I paid income tax on this). Since then, I've only been home for a maximum of two weeks, although I need to check my plane tickets and verify this.
I am earning income in France and will be filing a tax return to this end. Before this October, I earned no income as I was a student.
Do I have to pay this fee or purchase health insurance in the US? I have no reason to do this outside of legal obligation. I am recieving excellent health care in France, and I am legally entitled to bringing my prescription medication home with me for short visits, so I have had no need to see a doctor in America for the past 5 years. If I need to do this, what do I need to do by tomorrow?
If I am eligible for the exemption, how do I prove this? Do I have to do anything in particular before the deadline tomorrow?
As a further complication: I do not have a carte vitale (medical green card) in France yet, but since the process takes several months, I am allowed to see a doctor here, paying out of pocket, and I am reimbursed later. So I don't actually have proof of my health coverage in France yet, as it is dependent on receiving a social security number -- which takes an extremely long time to get, because France. However I have verified that my right to health coverage began on the first day of my contract in France. Is this going to affect my eligibility? I can imagine many US expats on temporary contracts abroad may run into a similar issue.
Is "per year" in reference to fiscal/tax year or calendar year?
If I stay in the US for more than 30 days in a given year (e.g. family emergency) am I obligated to hold US health insurance?
Thanks in advance, and I hope other expats also find this useful.