Obamacare: who pays penalty for uninsured child?

Will I have to pay the penalty if my 19-year-old son in college does not have health insurance?  He works part-time, in case that makes a difference.


Dear Dad,

Yes, you would face the penalty assuming that the child is declared as your tax dependent. If you do not claim him as a dependent, then he could file his own taxes and pay his own penalty. He could qualify for one of the exemptions and not face the penalty. He likely earns less than the tax filing minimum (around $10,000), making him exempt.

Taking him off of your taxes as a dependent has other ripple effects on your finances, and his college aid.  Ask an accountant before you make a change just to avoid the health reform penalty.

Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.