Health | National

Tribal members exempt from insurance mandate in health law

Members of federally recognized tribes and shareholders in Alaska Native corporations are exempt from the health insurance mandate in the Affordable Care Act.

The law provides an exception to recognize the role of the Indian Health Service and tribally-operated facilities. But the Obama administration also finalized a regulation that ensures other American Indians and Alaska Natives who are covered by the Indian Health Care Improvement Act can seek a "hardship exception" from the mandate.

Regardless of the exemption, most American Indians and Alaska Natives should be eligible for coverage through health care exchanges that will be launching on October 1. In Douglas County in Kansas, an estimated 5,000 Native Americans might benefit from the new system.

"What I'm hoping is that Indian people who are eligible for the Indian Health Service or Indian health care will get insurance through the Affordable Care Act and use it at their local Indian health care facility," Dee Ann DeRoin, a health care consultant, told The Lawrence Journal-World.

Get the Story:
American Indians among those exempted from health reform’s individual mandate (The Lawrence Journal-World 9/16)

Federal Register Notice:
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Exchange Functions: Eligibility for Exemptions; Miscellaneous Minimum Essential Coverage Provisions (July 1, 2013)

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