March 23, 2022 marks the 12-year anniversary since the passing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In 2010 the ACA was signed into law by President Obama. This Act aimed to provide millions of Americans with health care coverage, to expand Medicaid, to ease health care coverage burdens on Americans with pre-existing conditions, to ensure young people could stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26, and much more.
The ACA has been instrumental in providing health care coverage to millions of people including American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs). Specifically, the ACA continues to provide protections that have increased the overall health and wellness of AI/AN communities. These protections include the permanent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act and included enrollment in Marketplace coverage at any time of the year, zero cost-sharing plans for households with income between 100 percent and 300 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL), Limited cost-sharing plans for households with income below 100 percent and above 300 percent FPL, and no copays, deductibles, or coinsurance for limited-cost sharing plans for services received at an Indian/Tribal/Urban ITU health care facility.
In addition to these protections the ACA has also increased the third-party revenue through Medicaid for ITU facilities in addition to expanded access to health care. Since the signing of the ACA, health care coverage expansion significantly improved and increased the health coverage among AI/ANs. In 2012, 24.2 percent of AI/AN were uninsured in the U.S. In 2019, 15.4 percent of AI/ANs were uninsured. The fall in the proportion of AI/ANs uninsured from 2012 to 2019 represents a decrease of 36 percent in the ratio of uninsured AI/ANs in the U.S.
The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) wishes to commemorate the anniversary of the ACA and all of the health care accomplishments the Act has provided for Indian Country. Since the ACA’s inception, NIHB has received coverage success stories from native communities such as the one below, that describe the important changes and benefits of the implementation of the ACA.
“A 58 year old female retired from her job and started receiving social security and retirement. She always had job-based coverage and never had to use it. After she retired she became ill. She was admitted to the Northern Regional Medical Center. She needed to receive ongoing medical treatments. She applied for Medicaid, but was determined as being over income. She contacted a Navigator, the Navigator was able to enroll her into a Marketplace plan for $2.40 per month. With zero cost-sharing. All she has to pay is $2.40 per month with no deductibles, co-pays or out-of-pocket costs. She was able to start scheduling her needed appointments.”
To celebrate the occasion, The White House will be hosting, in collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a weeklong celebration through March 25 to highlight the benefits of the ACA.
The theme of this celebration is: “ACA: 12 Years of Advancing Health Equity for All Americans.” Each day different successes from the ACA will be highlighted in combatting health disparities.
- 3/23: Celebrating Coverage Gains & Patient Protections
- 3/24: Celebrating Mental Health and Substance Use Support
- 3/25: Celebrating Health of LGBTQI+ and Communities of Color
For more information on the work NIHB has contributed to the ACA and for more information about the ACA click here.