The Affordable Care Act: What American Indian and Alaska Native Parents Need to Know

The federal government provides for medical access for a variety of people through federal health insurances like Medicaid, Medicare, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Medicare provides health coverage to people who are 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with end-stage renal disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant, sometimes called ESRD). Medicaid provides health coverage to more than 50 million children, families, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities. CHIP provides free or low-cost health coverage for more than seven million children up to age 19. CHIP covers U.S. citizens and eligible immigrants.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a federal law with the simple aim to “bring access to healthcare to all.” Native communities and parents will be in a position to enroll their families (youth and children) in a healthcare coverage (insurance) program providing a financial source to pay for health care services for those who qualify by income.

Important dates to remember are:
• October 1, 2013 is when open enrollment for health insurance begins.
• January 1, 2014 is the official start date.

The Health Insurance Marketplace is a new way to find health coverage. The marketplace in some respects is like a grocery store, with different health insurance products and options in your state that you may compare and choose from when you sign up for insurance. As a citizen of a federally recognized tribe, you have certain protections in the Health Insurance Marketplace that are different from other Americans.

  • You do not have to pay a penalty if you do not have health coverage.
  • You more easily qualify for lower out-of-pocket costs for deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.
  • You are allowed monthly enrollment periods to sign up for insurance outside the yearly open enrollment period.
  • You have different cost and eligibility rules for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

You likely have many more questions and in this fact sheet you will find questions and answers that will be helpful in understanding the Affordable Care Act, the importance of enrolling for health insurance, and the benefits for you and your family members.

Population of focus: American Indian and Alaska Native Parents

Link to resource: Fact sheet — The Affordable Care Act: What American Indian and Alaska Native Parents Need to Know (pdf)

Date: 2013

Organization: This fact sheet was published by the National Indian Child Welfare Association with support from the Child, Adolescent and Family Branch, Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.