February 24, 2015 |  Issue 15-07




HHS Tribal Budget and Policy Consultation

February 25-26, 2015

Washington, DC


Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee Meeting

March 17-18, 2015

Washington DC


NIHB Tribal Public Health Summit 

April 7-9, 2015

Palm Springs, CA


Tribal Self-Governance Consultation Conference

April 26-30, 2015

Reno, NV


NIHB Annual Consumer Conference

September 21-24, 2015

Washington, DC

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In This Issue 

NIHB Updates

The National Indian Health Board's Tribal Public Health Summit will take place at the Agua Caliente Casino, Resort and Spa in Rancho Mirage, California  from April 7-9, 2015.  The Summit has continued to grow each year, and now in its 6th year, this promises to be the largest Summit to date.  


REGISTRATION IS LIVE. You can click here for more information or call our offices at (202) 507-4070. 


Click here to view the draft agenda. 

Capitol Hill Updates
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs to Hold Hearing on FY 2016 Funding
The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will hold an Oversight Hearing on the "The President's FY 2016 Budget Request for Indian Programs" on February 25, 2015 at 2:30 p.m. EST

For more information, and to watch the hearing live please visit: 

You can learn more about the Tribal Budget Request for the Indian Health Service for FY 2016 by clicking here.

Administration Updates

NHSC Virtual Job Fair for Indian Health Service and Tribal Health Clinics

The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) will be hosting a virtual job fair for the Indian Health Service (IHS) and Tribal Health Clinics on Tuesday, March 24, from 6:45 - 10:00 PM ET.  


Participation is free to those who meet the following requirements: Your site must: be an active NHSC site and an IHS or Tribal Clinic in good standing; need to fill a job vacancy in an NHSC-approved primary care medical, dental, or behavioral and mental health discipline; complete a NHSC Jobs Center Site Profile; and have access to a computer, internet and a phone line.  During the Virtual Job Fair, your site will have approximately 15 minutes in your own "virtual room" to discuss your site and job opportunities, the community you serve, and answer questions from participating job seekers.  

After the event, your site contact information will be provided to registered participants, and your site will be listed on the NHSC Virtual Job Fair web page.  For more information, please visit the NHSC Virtual Job Fair web page or email NHSC at NHSCVirtualJobFair@hrsa.gov. Don't miss this opportunity to promote your job vacancies - register today!


Special Enrollment Period for Tax Season

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced a special enrollment period (SEP) for individuals and families who did not have health coverage in 2014 and are subject to the fee or "shared responsibility payment" when they file their 2014 taxes in states which use the Federally-facilitated Marketplaces (FFM). Between March 15th and April 30th, those individuals and families who were unaware or did not understand the implications of this new requirement, can enroll in 2015 health insurance coverage through the FFM. 


Enrolled members of federal recognized Tribes, including shareholders of Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) Corporations, are eligible for enrollment on a monthly basis and do not need to wait for the SEP. Others eligible for services from an Indian Health Care Provider (Indian Health Service (IHS), Tribal or Urban Indian program) can enroll in this SEP. 


This year's tax season is the first time individuals and families will be asked to provide basic information regarding their health coverage on their tax returns.  However, those individuals who are members of federally recognized Tribes and shareholders of ANCSA corporations, as well as those who are eligible for services through an Indian health care provider, including IHS, can receive an exemption for 2014.  There are two ways to apply for an exemption: by submitting an application through the Health Insurance Marketplace or claiming an exemption on the 8965 Tax Form


Failure to claim an exemption and not having health coverage in 2014 will result in a fee - $95 per adult or 1 percent of their income, whichever is greater - when they file their taxes this year.  The fee increases to $325 per adult or 2% of income for 2015. 


For more information, please visit www.tribalhealthcare.org



Medicaid Enrollment Increasing Under Affordable Care Act

According to a report from the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services released on February 23, 2015, enrollment in Medicaid has reached nearly 10.8 million additional individuals as of December 24, 2014.  This represents an 18.6 percent increase over the average monthly enrollment for July through September of 2013, the pre-Marketplace open enrollment timeframe. Twenty-eight states, plus the District of Columbia, have provided greater access to health care coverage to uninsured low-income individuals by expanding Medicaid coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA).


Though the reported large enrollment numbers under ACA's Medicaid Expansion is not specific to any group, such as American Indians and Alaska Natives, it is indicative of the greater access and opportunities to quality health care for very-low to low-income individuals. Because many Tribal communities live in poverty and suffer from low unemployment rates, the expansion of Medicaid eligibility is a win for Tribes.


The CMS reports goes on to state that, "among states that had implemented the Medicaid expansion and were covering newly eligible adults in December 2014, Medicaid and CHIP enrollment rose by over 27 percent compared to the July-September 2013 baseline period, while states that did not expand Medicaid during the reporting period showed an increase of over 7 percent over the same period."


Several states with Tribes, like Montana, South Dakota, and Oklahoma, have not expanded Medicaid.  Tribal leaders and Tribal health advocates are encouraged to monitor Medicaid Expansion in their respective states as it is another way for tribal members to access health care and bring in revenue to their clinic through third-party billing. 


Click here for a list of the states that have and have not adopted Medicaid Expansion (source Kaiser Family Foundation).

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