En español l The health care law provides several new benefits and protections that are particularly important to American Indians and Alaska Natives. By understanding what’s in the law, you can make better health care choices for you and your family.
Strengthens the Indian health service:
The law provides for permanent authorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. This includes funding for programs to increase the Indian health care work force, new services for promoting health and preventing disease, additional ways to improve access to health care services, construction of Indian health facilities, and an Indian youth suicide prevention grant program.
It's easier to get health insurance:
- There’s a new way to shop for health insurance. If you don’t have insurance, are a small business owner or are self-employed, you can find a plan that works for you in the Health Insurance Marketplace in your state. Help is available every step of the way. You can get your questions answered about finding a plan or completing the application in person, by phone or online.
- All plans offered in the marketplace are required to cover important benefits, such as doctor visits, emergency care, hospital care, prescription drugs, preventive care and more.
- It is important to know as an American Indian or Alaska Native you will not pay a penalty if you decide not to buy health coverage.
- If you do decide to buy coverage, you have more opportunities to buy coverage through the marketplace in your state. Usually, there is just a once-a-year opportunity to enroll, but tribal members can enroll monthly.
Financial help is available:
Many people who buy their plan in the marketplace can get help with some of the insurance cost. Low-cost or free plans are also available, depending on your income.
Insurance plans are improved:
- If you have children, they can stay on your family health insurance plan until they turn 26. Even if your child is in school, lives away from home or is married, as long as they are under age 26, they can stay covered.
- Insurance companies can no longer deny you coverage, even if you have a preexisting condition such as diabetes, high-blood pressure or cancer.
- You no longer have to pay some of the out-of-pocket costs for preventive care. This includes immunizations, mammograms and other screenings for certain cancers or diabetes.
- If you have Medicare, it now covers a yearly wellness visit and more preventive care. This includes cancer, cholesterol and diabetes screenings, immunizations, diet counseling and more.
- If you have Medicare Part D, and reach the coverage gap, you get a discount of more than 50 percent on brand-name drugs and a discount of more than 20 percent on generic prescription drugs. How much you’ll pay out of pocket for each drug may vary depending on your Part D plan. The discounts will gradually increase until the coverage gap disappears in 2020.
Updated August 2013