Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace started on November 1, 2016. American Indians and Alaska Natives are eligible to purchase coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace and may also find out they qualify for Medicaid. The Marketplace is a destination where consumers can compare health insurance options in simple, easy-to-understand language. At the Marketplace, consumers are able to compare insurance options based on price, benefits, quality, and other factors with a clear picture of premiums and cost-sharing amounts to help them choose the insurance that best fits their needs.
An important population of focus this year is young adults. Young adults have the highest rate of uninsured of any age group. About 30 percent of young adults are uninsured. This population of individuals is often referred to as the "Young Invincibles ." Although young people are often healthy, they do need medical care for preventive treatment, regular check-ups, and occasional health hiccups.
It is estimated that more than 70 percent of consumers can find Marketplace plans for less than $75 per month. For American Indian and Alaska Native consumers, these plans are even more affordable as many will be eligible for special protections that provide options for plans with no out of pocket costs.
It is estimated that more than 500,000 uninsured American Indians and Alaska Natives now have new opportunities for coverage through the Marketplace and as many as nine out of 10 of those may qualify for financial assistance either through tax credits to purchase coverage in the Marketplace, cost-sharing reductions that will reduce or eliminate out of pocket costs, or through Medicaid if their state expands eligibility.
Remember, American Indians and Alaska Natives can get free, in-person help on applying for or exploring coverage options in the Marketplace or Medicaid from their local IHS, tribal, or urban Indian health program. You can find the closest health program using the Find Health Care tool.
Raho Ortiz is the Acting Director of the Office of Urban Indian Health Programs with the Indian Health Service. He provides national oversight and guidance for health programs administered by Urban Indian Organizations and funded by IHS. He is Navajo and Acoma Pueblo.