Required to carry health insurance now

So with the passage of this new law Americans will be required to carry health insurance.

Does this apply to Americans that do not live in the USA?

I have UK-issued health insurance that is valid everywhere except the USA. Since I am only in the USA for very short visits… am I going to have to buy US-issued health insurance that I can never use?


At the risk of being overly conniving (and not very helpful, at that), the bill apparently allows religious exemptions—so if all else fails, you could just claim that Allah forbids you, or something. I doubt they’d check THAT hard. :wink:

Seriously, though, I’d like to hear a detailed answer, too, if just out of curiosity.

Didn’t you buy the UK insurance because you could not buy insurance from a U.S. company? Sounds like they’d have to take you now, if you were so inclined.


No they won’t. If you don’t have insurance you have to pay a tax.

And if you have UK-issued health insurance, that’s health insurance, so you won’t have to pay the penalty.

(As an aside, do you have to pay US income tax or UK income tax, or both?)

You’re not covered in the US so you would need an insurance rider of some kind for the brief visits. If by brief visit you mean a couple of days of vacation/business then look at travel insurance.

The law says:

Section 911 of the Internal Revenue Code says that different tax laws apply to these two types of individuals:

Canadian health insurance (provincial Medicare plans) covers anything anywhere - up to the amount the plan would reimburse local doctors or hospitals for the same service. TO avoid going bankrupt over the differebnce if sick while visiting the USA, travel insurance (like Blue Cross) is strongly advised.

Another benefit of travel insurance is that they cover a medical flight to get you home - presumably in a serious situation, you may miss your return flight or be unable to travel regular flights. It’s cheaper for Blue Cross to pay a charter flight home ASAP and leave you with your local medical services, than to keep paying US hospital rates.

Lots of local stories of uninsured older people who took a chance with no coverage to winter in the south. One guy I know was found in his trailer in Arizona, where he ahd had a stroke. His friend drove 48 hours to get him back to Canada rather than turn him over to a hospital in the US. The guy was NOT that rich.

Of course most travel insurance has a cap like 60 or 90 days per trip, so it doesn’t become a substitute for real health insurance.

Where thing would get interesting is if it appears you are staying in the USA - no return plans, open-ended tick, that sort of thing. I’m sure some authorities somewhere would begin investigating your status. Don’t be surprised if they start datamining border customs records to match people claiming non-resident exemptions.

BTW - what do you mean? Is National Health invalid for US bills, or just doesn’t pay enough? Or doesn’t pay any foreign bills? As I understand it, as a UK citizen, I could just move there and sign up for National Health right away even though I have never actually lived in the UK.

The NHS is not an insurance plan – NHS treatment is free in NHS hospitals (even when those NHS hospitals are subcontractors etc).

With some EU related exceptions, the NHS won’t pay for you to get treated elsewhere.