The Affordable Care Act (ACA)
All international students, scholars, and their dependents should be aware that depending how long they remain in the United States, they may become subject to the terms of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). More information regarding the ACA can be found on the Harvard University Health Services web site.
The ACA requires individuals who do not maintain “minimum essential healthcare coverage” to pay a fine to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) when they pay their taxes. This requirement is known as the “individual mandate.” The Healthcare.gov website states that persons subject to this “individual mandate” can avoid the fine if they enroll in an ACA-compliant plan.
Whether the ACA and its individual mandate apply to individual cases depends on the tax status of the individual. The individual could be considered a resident or a non-resident for tax purposes.
• Nonresident aliens for tax purposes are not subject to the individual mandate.
• Resident aliens for tax purposes are subject to the individual mandate.
Generally, students are non-residents for the first five calendar years they spend in the U.S. and scholars are non-residents for the first two calendar years. Once someone becomes a resident for tax purposes, they also become subject to the terms of the ACA and should be sure they are enrolled in a health plan that is ACA compliant. The Harvard Student Health Insurance Plan meets this requirement.
Once you arrive in the U.S., those with a valid Harvard ID and PIN can access the Windstar (need link) Foreign National Tax Resource web site to determine your tax residency status. If you have left the University and no longer have a valid HUID and PIN, please contact your HIO advisor to receive an individual access code that will permit you to use the Windstar system.