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February 25, 2013

TTAG Face to Face Meeting in Washington, D.C. & Tribal Consultation with CMS and IRS

The Tribal Technical Advisory Group (TTAG), an advisory committee to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on important health care matters associated with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and public health services, held its tri-annual face to face meeting in Washington, D.C. last week. The members of  the TTAG and other Tribal Leaders engaged in Tribal Consultation with CMS and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on theProposed Rules for Minimum Essential Coverage and Individual Shared Responsibility for Health Insurance. Here are some brief updates:

Director of the Center for Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) Gary Cohen stated that aggregated payment (Tribal sponsorship) will not be available on the federally facilitated exchanges (FFE) for the first year of implementation.

The Indian Addendum to be used with qualified health plans (QHPs) on the health insurance marketplaces (also being referred as the QHP Addendum) will be finalized by CCIIO in the next few months.

Sonciray Bonnell, Tribal Program Analyst for Cover Oregon (Oregon’s Health Insurance Marketplace) provided an update about Oregon’s Tribal Premium Sponsorship Program, which offers a one door policy for applying for health coverage on the exchange, verifying AI/AN status, training staff on AI/AN cultural perspectives and benefits, and encouraging the use of the Indian Addendum with QHPs. For questions or comments about Oregon’s successful program to encourage AI/AN to participate on the exchanges, contact Ms. Bonnell at [email protected]

Starting in 2014, the individual shared responsibility provision calls for each individual to have basic health insurance coverage, known as “minimum essential coverage”, qualify for an exemption, or make a shared responsibility payment when filing a federal income tax return.  American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) are exempt from the shared responsibility payment. Both CMS and IRS issues rules that proposes eligibility standards related to the categories of exemption.  A fact sheet about these rules can be found here. The CMS comment is due March 18, 2013 and the IRS comment is due May 2, 2013.

The NIHB and TTAG submitted comments to CMS’s proposed rule 2334-P Medicaid, CHIP, Health Insurance Marketplaces Eligibility and Enrollment. To read the TTAG comment, click here. To read the NIHB comment, click here.