Question: Employer sponsored insurance is considered affordable if what the employee pays toward the employee-only premium does not exceed 9.5% of his income. But individuals are exempt from the individual mandate if the cost of insurance would exceed 8% of their income. Wouldn’t that mean that people who contribute more than 8% of their income to the employee-only premium of their group plan are exempt from the individual mandate?
Answer: Yes. Individuals are exempt from tax penalty if the premiums for a bronze policy cost more than 8 percent of their income or their income is below the tax filing limit. Your academic point, while accurate, would be applicable to a statistically negligible number of employed individuals who could decline employer-based coverage, remain uninsured and avoid paying a tax penalty. You must be an attorney :)