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Health Coverage Prospects for American Indians & Alaskan Natives – What to Expect?

Health Coverage Prospects for American Indians & Alaskan NativesHealth coverage plans across the U.S. have always been the savior for preventing unanticipated fiscal burdens that make you a victim of the rising medical costs. This is no different when it comes to our American Indian and Alaska Natives (AI/AN). But one thing that sets them apart from the rest and gives them an edge in health coverage is the unique set of initiatives by the Indian Health Service (IHS). IHS is an operating division of the United States federal government, which functions under the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

If you are an Alaskan Native, a group of federally recognized tribes, or an American Indian, then you would definitely be interested in what IHS has got to offer to you. Or at least be aware of the eligibility criteria to avail the services from the IHS, urban Indian health program or tribal program. Here are a few nitty gritties that you can expect.

Who Are Eligible for the Services Provided by the Tribal Program & the Indian Health Program?

Public health and direct medical benefits provided by these programs can be availed by the individuals who come under the following:

  • The Alaskan Native population
  • American Indians
  • Members of the federally recognized Native American tribes

New Health Coverage Benefits & Protection Plans Available

The Health Insurance Market hugely benefits the American Indians and Alaskan Natives (AI/AN) by considering their needs and budget. This makes health coverage extremely affordable through Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as well as Marketplace health Insurance plans. While you do not get exempted from paying your monthly premiums, you get qualified for tax credits based on your income, which ultimately lower your premiums. Following are the few things you can expect:

  • If your earnings are 100% to 300% of the federal poverty level, then you qualify for 'zero cost sharing' plan. This means you need not pay any kind of out-of-pocket expenses like copayments, coinsurance or the deductibles, when you avail care
  • No out-of-pocket expenses for availing any service from the Indian Healthcare Provider, irrespective of your income
  • Can enroll into marketplace Insurance plans any time throughout the year, apart from the yearly ‘Open Enrolment period’, and can also change your plans, as often as once every month

CHIP and Medicaid Benefits for Alaskan Natives and Tribal Members

These low-cost health insurance plans provide comprehensive benefits to children. As States have the flexibility to design programs with federal guidelines, the benefits also vary from one State to another and with the type of the CHIP program. However, here are a few aspects that you should know:

  • The AI/AN shareholders and the Indian tribe members also get special benefits and protections under CHIP and Medicaid
  • They will not have any out-of-pocket expenses or exemption from paying the premiums for Medicaid, once they qualify

Summing Up

Today, there are several plans that aim to help AI/AN, with the best possible health coverage prospects. Having a clear understanding of these will keep you informed and make the right choice when it comes to choosing a good health coverage plan.