Short Answer: Always have health insurance coverage. If you think you don’t have the money to pay for health insurance, then wait until you have an emergency!
Here are a couple of screenshots from Facebook Group. One person without sufficient coverage and another person without coverage.
Your question shouldn’t be “Is it Mandatory to have Health Insurance while on OPT or STEM OPT?”.
Instead, it should be how much coverage do I need to protect myself?
So, please don’t go without the health insurance.
Quick Summary About ACH and F1 Students
- Individual health insurance mandate applies to USA citizens, green card holders and resident aliens
- Individual Mandate doesn’t apply to non-resident aliens even if they file taxes
- Resident or Non-Resident Tax status is determined by the green card test or substantial presence test.
- F, J, M and Q visas holders are exempt from the substantial presence test for 5 years if there is no change in visa status (like F1 to H1B)
- Non-resident aliens in F, J, M and Q visa holders are not subject to the individual health insurance mandate.
The Bottomline: Irrespective of the mandate, you should have health insurance coverage. Check out the Resources Page to learn more about HEalth Insurance options.