There have been a lot of questions about who qualifies for the ACA exemptions and benefits as an American Indian/Alaska Native. First of all let me tell you that it is very confusing because the definition of AI/AN in the Affordable Care Act does not meet the definition under Indian Health Services or Medicaid.
Here is what I can tell you:
1) If you are an AI/AN who is a member of a federally recognized tribe:
- You are exempt from the individual mandate to purchase health insurance
- You receive the full benefits including: Little to no-co pays/deductibles depending on your income and special open enrollment periods.
2) If you an AI/AN who is not a member of a federally recognized but are otherwise eligible to receive services from IHS including at urban clinics, like AIHFS:
- You can apply for a hardship exemption through the marketplace (paper forms are currently in development)
- You do not have access to the benefits such as copays/deductibles or the open enrollment periods.
Remember there are many other types of exemptions available as well, so do not hesitate to contact someone at AIHFS for further clarification or assistance.
So this is a big week, and I know that there are a lot of questions. I’ve been posting a lot about Affordable Care Act and reminding everyone that open enrollment was coming soon. IT’S HERE!
Okay but there are some complications. If you have visited http://www.healthcare.gov , you may have noticed that it is hard to get in and there are so many other glitches right now. The best I can say is that we have no answer for when things will be fixed. The good news is that we still have a lot of time, so we just need to be patient right now. If you have an appointment scheduled with us for assistance in the next two weeks we will keep you updated. We are testing the site on a daily basis and contacting our appointments if we need to reschedule.
Other questions about ACA that have come up are in regards to the government shutdown. 1) The marketplace still opened on October 1st. 2) You can still sign up for insurance even through the government shutdown.
There have been many other questions and concerns regarding the government shutdown. As an organization that is funded from many federal agencies we have been following this issue closely. At this time the biggest message that I want to share is that we are open and fully operating. None of our staff are furloughed. We are working with each of our funding sources to determine the exact impact on our funding, but are confident that we will not have any major negative impacts at this time. The biggest impact is that some of the grant management staff at the government level are furloughed which can make it a little more difficult to get questions answered when we have them.
As the government shutdown continues, we will updated you, but I mostly wanted to share with you the impact on AIHFS and to share that we are still open and have no indication that our services will be impacted.
If you want to do some reading or have specific questions about the shutdown you can visit http://www.usa.gov/shutdown.shtml or you can call 1-800-FED-INFO (1-800-333-4636)
I hope everyone had a good and safe labor day weekend. We are starting this week with both good and bad news.
The good news is that the Michigan House of Representatives did approve the Medicaid Expansion bill today. All that is left is for the Governor to sign the bill which is expected when he returns from a trip.
However, there is a little bit of bad news. Unfortunately this bill will not go into effect immediately. It is not expected to go into effect until April 2014. There is a lot of uncertainties about how this will impact residents especially when it comes to the insurance mandate and penalties that do start on January 1st. Again I wish I had all the answers but for now, I must wait with you until these questions get answered.
Just a reminder that enrollment starts October 1st. Your AIHFS staff, including myself, have started their 25 hour Navigator training in preparation for being able to assist you.
Here is some additional articles that represent both those in favor of Medicaid Expansion and those who do not support it.