Travelling Abroad with ACA: What You Need to Know

If you’re planning an extended trip abroad, understanding how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) applies to your health insurance is crucial. One common concern is the impact of cancelling your coverage while you’re away.

Cancellation and Penalties

The ACA previously imposed a tax penalty for individuals who did not maintain health insurance coverage throughout the year. However, thanks to changes made in 2019, there is currently no tax penalty for not having health insurance.


If you decide to cancel your ACA coverage while you’re out of the country, you can re-enroll during the next Open Enrollment period, which generally runs from November 1st to January 15th.

Returning to the Country

Returning to the country does not constitute a “life change” that would qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period to obtain coverage outside the Open Enrollment period.

However, if you are moving back to the United States from another country, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period under the Federally Facilitated Marketplace. This requires reporting your move within 60 days of it happening.

Maintaining Coverage

While it may seem like a good idea to cancel your coverage to save money, it’s important to consider the potential risks. If an emergency occurs while you’re abroad, you could face significant medical bills without health insurance.

If you can afford it, it’s generally advisable to maintain your ACA coverage even while you’re out of the country. This ensures peace of mind and protection from unexpected medical expenses.

Seeking Professional Help

Navigating the ACA can be complex, especially when considering international travel. It’s highly recommended to consult with a licensed insurance agent who specializes in ACA health insurance. They can provide personalized advice and help you explore your options based on your specific circumstances.

Remember, the ACA is designed to provide affordable health coverage for all Americans, regardless of their travel plans. By understanding your rights and options, you can make informed decisions and ensure your health is protected.

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