Consumers may claim a hardship exemption from the Affordable Care Act’s individual health insurance mandate on their federal income tax return for 2018 without presenting the documentary evidence or written explanation generally required for hardship exemptions, according to guidance issued today by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “Although the tax cuts signed by the President earlier this year eliminate the mandate penalty starting in 2019, Americans are still under threat of the penalty for this tax year of 2018,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “This guidance will simplify how consumers claim the hardship exemption from the individual mandate directly on their tax return.” Individuals may be eligible for a hardship exemption if they experience certain circumstances that prevent them from obtaining coverage, such as homelessness or a fire, flood or other natural disaster.