What is a Health Insurance Waiver?

Daphne Mallory

A health insurance waiver is used to excuse the person or company issued the waiver from participation in mandatory health insurance coverage during a specified period. The requirement to purchase insurance is waived by the entity that requires insurance from everyone else or every other entity. A form and supporting documents must often be submitted before granting a health insurance waiver is considered.

A waiver excuses someone from purchasing otherwise required health insurance.
A waiver excuses someone from purchasing otherwise required health insurance.

Individuals who request a waiver often do so because they already have a health insurance plan in place that would overlap with the mandatory coverage required or because purchasing insurance would be cost prohibitive. Employers may also require employees who do not want to enroll in a health insurance plan that’s included in a benefits package to sign a health insurance waiver. The waiver is used to show proof that the employer was compliant with mandatory health insurance laws.

A health insurance claim form.
A health insurance claim form.

Many colleges and universities require students to obtain health insurance if they are enrolled in a minimum number of credit hours established by regional law. For example, community college students in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States who are enrolled for at least nine credit hours as a day student must enroll in the college’s student health insurance plan or obtain a waiver. If an individual does not submit a student health insurance waiver prior to the deadline, then the student often has to pay for the insurance plan purchased by the college even if the student already has insurance through another provider. The purpose of a health insurance waiver is to avoid paying the premium that the college often charges all other students due to mandatory health insurance laws for college policies. If the waiver is not granted or submitted, the student has to pay for the additional charge as part of his annual college costs.

Some companies can also request health insurance waivers for their obligations to provide workers with a certain level of health insurance coverage or any coverage at all. If a waiver is granted, then companies can drop coverage or keep their current insurance plan even if it is below the minimum required by regional or national laws. The main reason for companies requesting waivers is that it would pose an economic hardship to cover low-wage employees or part-time employees. Those companies argue that they would be forced to lay off workers or cut wages in order to meet the mandatory health insurance requirement. Government entities that approve requests for waivers often do so because they view it as a better outcome for the economy to keep workers employed instead.

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