American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) living in Washington State will be eligible for additional benefits when Washington Healthplanfinder opens October 1, 2013. The Affordable Care Act includes a number of provisions that outline special rules for American Indians and Alaska Native enrollment in state-based Exchanges. These include:
- A Break on Costs for Certain Income Levels: American Indians and Alaska Natives with a household income of less than $70,650 for a family of four and $34,470 for an individual will not have copays or other costs if they obtain insurance through Washington Healthplanfinder.
- No Costs for Using Indian Health Services: There are no copays or other costs for American Indians who receive health care services or receive a referral through Indian Health Services, Tribes, Tribal organizations, or Urban Indian organizations.
- Special Open Enrollment Periods: American Indians may change their health plan on a monthly basis, if they desire.
- No Federal Mandate: An additional protection exempts AI/ANs from the federal mandate requiring all individuals to purchase minimum health care coverage.
Over the last year, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange has worked closely with the American Indian Health Commission for Washington State and local tribal communities to (1) establish a Tribal Consultation Policy that outlines how the Exchange will consult and collaborate with Indian Tribal Governments and tribal programs in the development of Exchange policies or actions that have tribal implications and (2) ensure that Washington Healthplanfinder will address the unique needs of the 29 federally recognized Tribes and two urban Indian health programs in Washington state. Additional information about these efforts is included below.
Tribal Consultation Policy
The Washington Health Benefit Exchange has established a government-to-government Tribal Consultation Policy that outlines how the Exchange will consult and collaborate with Indian Tribal Governments, Urban Indian Organization (UIOs), and the American Indian Health Commission (AIHC) in the development of Exchange policies or actions that have tribal implications.
Contact Information for Parties to Consultation
Please click here to view the contact information for each of the parties to consultation.
Tribal Sponsorship Program
The Washington Health Benefit Exchange is working with tribal leaders to develop a sponsorship program that permits Tribal Entities to pay plan premiums on behalf of designated individuals who enroll in a Qualified Health Plan (QHP) offered through Washington Healthplanfinder. An overview of these efforts is included below.
- WAHBE Premium Sponsorship Webinar — Audio
- WAHBE Premium Sponsorship Overview Slides - Part 1
- WAHBE Premium Sponsorship Overview Slides - Part 2
- WAHBE Premium Sponsorship Overview Slides - Part 3
- WAHBE Sponsorship Intent Form
- Interested Sponsorship Entities (as of Sept 2013)
- WAHBE Premium Sponsorship Program Policy (for Sponsor Review)
Tribal In-Person Assister Program
Due to the unique characteristics of tribal programs, additional in-person assistor organizations have been chosen to help serve our state’s many tribes, coalitions of tribes, and/or tribal/tribe-affiliated organizations to provide in-person assistance for tribal members who need help comparing and enrolling in Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) through Washington Healthplanfinder. These include: Colville Confederated Tribes on the Colville Reservation, Lummi Nation, Suquamish Tribe, South Puget Intertribal Planning Agency, and The NATIVE Project in Spokane.
If an applicant attests that he or she is an American Indian through Washington Healthplanfinder, this status must be verified. The Exchange is committed to developing a protocol that will allow Washington’s Tribes and in-person Tribal Assisters to verify whether an individual is a member or descendant of one of Washington’s 29 tribes.