Tribes caught off-guard with mandate from Affordable Care Act

Crow Tribe Chairman Darrin Old Coyote. Photo from Crow Nation News / Facebook

Tribes in Montana are facing millions of dollars in fines for failing to comply with the Affordable Care Act affecting "large" employers.

The large employer mandate applies to any entity -- including tribal governments -- with more than 50 full-time employees. Those that fail to provide health coverage to their workers will be penalized starting in 2016.

“If we don’t do the mandate, we’re going to be fined for the number of employees we have, and that number could be up to $1.5 million,” Chairman Darrin Old Coyote of the Crow Tribe told The Billings Gazette.

Old Coyote said the tribe is in the process of offering insurance to its employees, many of whom are Native American. The situation stands in conflict with another provision of the ACA that exempts Native Americans from the mandate to obtain their own health insurance.

Legislation in the 114th Congress would address the situation. The Tribal Employment and Jobs Protection Act (S.1771 and H.R.3080) exempts tribes from the mandate. The bills were introduced earlier this month and await consideration.

Get the Story:
Tribes scramble avoid $1 million fines under Affordable Care Act (The Billings Gazette 7/31)

Related Stories
Bill shields tribes from Affordable Care Act employer mandate (07/15)
Northern Arapaho Tribe loses Affordable Care Act mandate case (7/9)
Northern Arapaho Tribe asks judge to block health care rules (02/13)
Northern Arapaho Tribe files lawsuit over Affordable Care Act rules (12/10)

Join the Conversation