What is minimum essential coverage?

Minimum essential coverage (MEC) is a major medical policy that meets the standards established by the Affordable Care Act (also called Obamacare). MEC includes, but isn't limited to:

  • Health insurance purchased on an exchange
  • Health insurance purchased directly from an insurance company (other than those listed as non-MEC below)
  • A spouse’s employer-provided health insurance
  • Health insurance from a second employer
  • Government-sponsored insurance, such as Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, TRICARE, VA health plan, Peace Corps health plan, etc.
  • COBRA
  • Employer-provided retiree coverage
  • A parent’s health insurance policy that qualifies as one of the above

Ask your health insurance company or review your policy documents if you have any questions.

Note: Short-term health plans, health care sharing ministries, stand-alone vision and dental plans, and plans that provide only limited benefits don't qualify as minimum essential coverage.

Do I have to have health insurance in order to request reimbursement?

No. You don't need to have health insurance to be reimbursed for your medical expenses. However, reimbursements made to you or a family member who didn't have minimum essential coverage (MEC) health insurance at the time of the expense may be included in your gross income for tax purposes.

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