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US expats are asking whether or not they are going to have to purchase health insurance that qualifies under the Affordable Care Act (Obama care) or be penalized if they do not.
There is an exemption in the law that states that if an American is eligible to take the foreign earned income exclusion (Form 2555) [see: IRC 911] either as a bonafide resident of a foreign country or under the physical presence test, the individual is exempted from the health insurance requirements of the Act.
Also, an American who is working abroad and is covered by the US employer Group Plan or covered by medicare is exempt from the Affordable Care Act.
Those who only work temporarily abroad for a few months and then return to the US are not exempted from the Acts requirements and must obtain health insurance or suffer penalties
Nonresidents who are not in the US long enough to become permanent residents (usually 183 days or more) are not required to obtain health coverage.
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