Health | Opinion

Lauren Jones: Affordable Care Act benefits Native Americans too






The Oklahoma City office of the Indian Health Service. Photo from IHS

Lauren Jones of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma explains how the Affordable Care Act helps Native Americans secure additional health coverage:
The new health care law, also known as the Affordable Care Act, has changed the way people get heath care coverage in the U.S. The law has helped expand access to health care coverage to more people, including American Indians with specific health care needs. The new law also aims to make health insurance more affordable, with cost-sharing available to help reduce monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles or copayments for those who qualify.

Unique to American Indians is the opportunity to enroll in the new Health Insurance Marketplace at any time, which means American Indians aren’t limited by enrollment deadlines that other U.S. citizens must meet. This means that citizens of a federally recognized tribe who have a Certified Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) card are able to enroll at the beginning of each month. If you enroll by the 15th of each month, coverage should be effective the first of the following month. For example, if someone enrolled for coverage on December 15, 2014, their health insurance coverage should start on January 1, 2015.

Additionally, American Indians who are eligible to receive services through the Indian Health System are exempt from the Individual Mandate health care coverage penalty.

Get the Story:
Lauren Jones: How American Indians can get insurance thanks to the new Health Care Law (The Native American Times 8/29)