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Trump Signs Legislation Expanding Religious Exemption for ACA Individual Mandate


Brian Whelan

Trump Signs Legislation Expanding Religious Exemption for ACA Individual Mandate

Tax-Related Portion of the Substance Use–Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act, Enrolled, as Signed by the President on October 24, 2018, P.L. 115-271

President Donald Trump has signed bipartisan legislation, which expands a religious exemption for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) ( P.L. 111-148) individual mandate. The exemption is effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2018.

Religious Exemption

SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act ( HR 6) amends Code Sec. 5000A(d)(2)(a) to expand the religious conscience exemption for the ACA individual mandate. Individual taxpayers who rely solely on a religious method of healing for whom the acceptance of medical health services would be inconsistent with their religious beliefs are exempt from the ACA mandate to maintain health insurance or pay a penalty.

Tax Reform

Additionally, last year’s tax reform legislation essentially repeals the ACA’s individual mandate. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ( P.L. 115-97) repeals the ACA’s shared responsibility payment for individuals failing to maintain minimum essential coverage effective January 1, 2019.