Politics

Average American Indian has no co-pays under Obamacare

Photo of Patrick Howley
Patrick Howley
Political Reporter

American Indians do not have to pay co-pays or deductibles with their Obamacare insurance plans if they make less than 300 percent of the poverty level, and many don’t have to provide any documentation proving that they’re Indians to benefit from the president’s health care law.

“American Indians and Alaska natives who purchase health insurance on the individual market through an Exchange do not have to pay co-pays or other cost-sharing if their income does not exceed 300 percent of the poverty level, roughly $66,000 for a family of four in 2010 ($83,000 in Alaska,” says an Indian Health Service document.

Indians making less than 300 percent of the poverty level pay no deductible or out-of-pocket expenses and have a maximum out-of-pocket expense of $0 in Obamacare insurance plans. Average Indians pay zero percent of the costs of physician office visits, preventive services and outpatient services.

Obamacare also includes a number of other Indian-only benefits.

“Members of American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes are exempt from individual responsibility assessments,” the document states, referring to Obamacare’s individual mandate penalty.

Indians who qualify for health care from the federal Indian Health Service get the exemption without having to provide documented proof of their Indian blood.

“Our responsibility to provide health services to American Indians and Alaska Natives derives from the nation-to-nation relationship between the federal and tribal governments,” President Obama said in 2010.

Obama attended a January 2012 fundraiser with 70 Indian leaders, including Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter, the activist currently spearheading the campaign to change the name of the Washington Redskins. The event raised up to $2.5 million for his re-election efforts.

Halbritter, who is not a legitimate member of his own tribe according to geneological documents and a New York state assemblywoman, said that Obama is doing more to communicate with Indian country than any president in his experience.

The White House did not return a request for comment.

(h/t Dave Petno)

Follow Patrick on Twitter