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  Real People

New health care options available for Native American adults  

—Barbara Webber 

There is a new, simple to use fact sheet about new health coverage options for older Native American adults. Health Action New Mexico (HANM), a 501(c)3 nonprofit health care consumer advocacy organization, working in collaboration with the National Indian Council on Aging and the Diverse Elders Coalition, has produced a new resource that explains health coverage benefits and protections under the Affordable Care Act that benefit Native Americans, especially those between the ages of fifty and 64, who are at heightened risk of developing chronic health conditions.

According to a 2013 Kaiser Family Foundation report, about one of three Native Americans and Alaskan Indians lack health insurance coverage. For many Native Americans, utilizing Indian Health Services (IHS) has been their sole health care option. Unfortunately, due to consistent underfunding and a severely limited capacity for specialty health care services, IHS is often unable to meet the health care needs of the community it serves.

New health coverage options in New Mexico provide benefits for tribal communities and urban Indians, allowing them to access health care services when they need them. The expansion of Medicaid provides free health coverage to any American earning under $15,655 dollars per year. The New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange is a marketplace where those who earn more may shop for a private health coverage plan, with financial assistance available on a sliding scale based on income. Native Americans are eligible for insurance premium discounts if they earn below about $46,680 dollars per year as individuals and face no out-of-pocket costs if they earn below $35,310 dollars per year.

“We sought to make this critical information available in a highly accessible form. It was created through a group discussion process with members of tribes throughout New Mexico in order to ensure that it is useful to their community. We hope that this information is utilized by all those that stand to benefit from expanded access to health care services.

To view this resource on the HANM website, go to:


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