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March 24, 2014

MARCH 24: NATIONAL TRIBAL DAY OF ACTION FOR AFFORDABLE CARE ACT ENROLLMENT!!

Get Covered on Today’s National Tribal Day of Action for ACA Enrollment

Today is the National Tribal Day of Action for the Affordable Care Act Enrollment.  This is a prime opportunity for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) to enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace at www.healthcare.gov.

The open enrollment deadline set for March 31, 2014 is quickly approaching.  And, even though members of federally recognized Tribes have a special monthly enrollment status, it is important for AI/AN individuals and families to learn about their insurance options.  Whether it’s purchasing insurance through the Marketplace or qualifying for Medicaid, knowing that you have quality coverage will provide peace of mind.

Not only do you benefit from having health insurance, your Indian Health Service facility, tribal 638 or urban clinic will benefit as well.  Through third-party billing, more Contract Health Service dollars and resources are put right back into your local clinic.

Yesterday marked the fourth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act.  The law protects the rights of all Americans, including American Indians and Alaska Natives, to purchase affordable insurance.  Take action today to get covered.

Many tribal clinics across Indian Country are hosting enrollment events today, March 24, 2014.  You may qualify for a low-cost plan, zero co-pays and zero deductibles.  Just last week, Luella from the Crow Nation enrolled in the Marketplace and received a plan for a $113.00 premium.  With three dependents and above the 138% of the federal poverty level, Luella was able to find a plan that fits her health needs and her tight budget.

This can be your story too.  You can find coverage that is affordable.  You can set an example for your family and friends by making your health care a priority and ensuring that your needs are covered.  So, on this day of action, visit www.healthcare.gov and check out your options.

 Nearly 320 Certified Application Counselors are also available in IHS-operated facilities to assist you through the application process.  The Marketplace call center and website chat feature are also helpful.  Take action today!

– Cathy Abramson
Chairperson, National Indian Health Board



March 24, 2014

Four Big Reasons to Celebrate the Affordable Care Act Turning Four

March 23rd marks the fourth anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act.  Since its enactment, millions of Americans have benefited from the law.

Read Full Article at hhs.gov



December 11, 2013

Nearly 365,000 Americans selected plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace in October and November

1.9 million customers made it through the process but have not yet selected a plan; an additional 803,077 assessed or determined eligible for Medicaid or CHIP

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today that nearly 365,000 individuals have selected plans from the state and federal Marketplaces by the end of November. November alone added more than a quarter million enrollees in state and federal Marketplaces. Enrollment in the federal Marketplace in November was more than four times greater than October’s reported federal enrollment number.

Since October 1, 1.9 million have made it through another critical step, the eligibility process, by applying and receiving an eligibility determination, but have not yet selected a plan.  An additional 803,077 were determined or assessed eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in October and November by the Health Insurance Marketplace.

“Evidence of the technical improvements to HealthCare.gov can be seen in the enrollment numbers.  More and more Americans are finding that quality, affordable coverage is within reach and that they’ll no longer need to worry about barriers they may have faced in the past – like being denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition,” Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. “Now is the time to visit HealthCare.gov, to ensure you and your family have signed up in a private plan of your choice by December 23 for coverage starting January 1. It’s important to remember that this open enrollment period is six months long and continues to March 31, 2014.”

The HHS issue brief highlights the following key findings, which are among many newly available data reported today on national and state-level enrollment-related information:

  • November’s federal enrollment number outpaced the October number by more than four times.
  • Nearly 1.2 million Americans, based only on the first two months of open enrollment, have selected a plan or had a Medicaid or CHIP eligibility determination;
    • Of those, 364,682 Americans selected plans from the state and federal Marketplaces; and
    • 803,077 Americans were determined or assessed eligible for Medicaid or CHIP by the Health Insurance Marketplace.
  • 39.1 million visitors have visited the state and federal sites to date.
  • There were an estimated 5.2 million calls to the state and federal call centers.

The report groups findings by state and federal marketplaces.  In some cases only partial datasets were available for state marketplaces.  The report features cumulative data for the two month period because some people apply, shop, and select a plan across monthly reporting periods.  These counts avoid potential duplication associated with monthly reporting.  For example, if a person submitted an application in October, and then selected a Marketplace plan in November, this person would only be counted once in the cumulative data.

To read today’s report visit:http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2013/MarketPlaceEnrollment/Dec2013/ib_2013dec_enrollment.pdf

To hear stories of Americans enrolling in the Marketplace visit:http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/facts/blog/2013/12/americans-enrolling-in-the-marketplace.html.



December 10, 2013

HHS Announces Affordable Care Act Mental Health Services Funding

HHS plans to issue a $50 million funding opportunity announcement to help Community Health Centers expand services to people living with mental illness, and drug and alcohol problems.

$50 million from the health care law will expand mental health and substance use disorder services in approximately 200 Community Health Centers nationwide

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced that it plans to issue a $50 million funding opportunity announcement to help Community Health Centers establish or expand behavioral health services for people living with mental illness, and drug and alcohol problems.  Community Health Centers will be able to use these new funds, made available through the Affordable Care Act, for efforts such as hiring new mental health and substance use disorder professionals, adding mental health and substance use disorder services, and employing team-based models of care.

“Most behavioral health conditions are treatable, yet too many Americans are not able to get needed treatment,” said Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N.  “These new Affordable Care Act funds will expand the capacity of our network of community health centers to respond to the mental health needs in their communities.”

“These new funds will further the Department’s work to develop integrated primary and behavioral health care services to better meet the needs of people with mental health and substance use conditions,” said Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Administrator, Pamela S. Hyde.

It is estimated these awards will support behavioral health expansion in approximately 200 existing health centers nationwide.

Over the past year the Obama administration has taken a number of steps to reduce the barriers that too often prevent people from getting the help they need for behavioral health problems.

The Affordable Care Act expands mental health and substance use disorder benefits and parity protections for approximately 60 million Americans.

The President’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget includes a new $130 million initiative to help teachers recognize signs of mental illness in students and refer them to services, support innovative state-based programs to improve mental health outcomes for young people ages, and train 5,000 more mental health professionals.  For more information please visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/factsheet/improving-mental-health-prevention-and-treatment-services.

The Administration has also finalized rules under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. Because of these parity protections, many insurance plans will now include coverage for mental health and substance use conditions that is comparable to their medical and surgical coverage.

The Administration also launched www.mentalhealth.gov a new website featuring easy-to-understand information about basic signs of mental health problems, how to talk about mental health, and how to find help.

Read Full News Release on HHS.gov



October 28, 2013

CMS Awards Additional Establishment Grants for State Insurance Marketplaces

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is awarding an additional $146.1 million in exchange grants to the following states:

Level One: Arkansas, Idaho, and Iowa
Level Two: Connecticut, District of Columbia, and Rhode Island
Level one establishment grants are one year grants that states use to build their state health insurance marketplaces. Level two establishment grants are multi-year awards given to states to further develop their marketplaces.
To view a full list of which states have been granted level one and 2 establishment grants,click here. 
States who accept  the establishment grants are required to consult with Tribes on the marketplace planning process. For more information, check out the Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee (TSGAC) Report “Analysis of Tribal Consultation Policies for State Health Insurance Exchanges” by clicking here.