Alaska Native people encouraged to apply for the Affordable Care Act Exemption

The Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Indian Status Exemption application is now available for Alaska Native people who want to be eligible for potential benefits and avoid a tax penalty if they are not covered by health insurance. The application is available to download at https://www.healthcare.gov/exemptions.

The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) created an example exemption application that includes tips on how to fill out specific sections of the official application. ANTHC’s example application and additional exemption information is available at http:// anthctoday.org/aca. ANTHC will also send health reform groups to Alaska’s regional hubs through March 2014 to distribute exemption applications, answer questions and offer assistance filling out the forms.

While all Americans are required to demonstrate health insurance coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2014, or be subject to a tax penalty, Alaska Native and American Indian people qualify for a special exemption from the requirements to purchase insurance.

To qualify for the Indian Status Exemption, Alaska Native people must apply for the exemption through a paper application process and submit to the Health Insurance Marketplace a completed application and copy of one of the following before the end of the year:(1) evidence of enrollment in a federally recognized tribe; (2) which includes owning shares in an ANCSA village or regional corporation; or (3) eligibility to receive services from an Indian Health Services (IHS) facility or tribal health care provider. Such evidence can include a copy of a tribal enrollment card or a letter from a tribe that verifies the applicant’s tribal status, or a copy of the front and back of an ANCSA corporation shareholder identification card. A copy of a Certificate of Indian Blood card, issued by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), or of an Indian Health Service eligibility letter is also acceptable. Do not submit an original as it will not be returned.

One application can be used for more than one person in a tax household. If you receive the exemption, you will be sent an Exemption Certificate Number that must be input on your federal income tax return. People who receive an Indian Exemption Certificate Number can keep it for future years without submitting another application if their membership or eligibility for services from an Indian health care provider remains unchanged. Members of a federally-recognized tribe and shareholders of ANCSA corporations qualify for other special provisions under ACA if they submit a copy of their tribal enrollment card/letter or proof of ANCSA shareholder status, such as a front and back copy of their shareholder identification card, when applying for the exemption. If you are eligible for the exemption but have health insurance coverage, you are still encouraged to apply. That way, you will be covered in the event your insurance situation changes.

For assistance with the Indian Exemption Status paperwork, visit your local tribal clinic or contact the ANTHC Health Reform group at [email protected], (907) 729-7777 or toll free at (855)-882-6842. For a list of tribes, visit www.ncai.org/tribal-directory. For Certificates of Indian Blood, contact the BIA at 800-645-8465, option 1.

Application Requirements

When applying for the exemption, Alaska Native people must provide one of the following along with a complete paper application:

  • Proof of enrollment into a federally recognized tribe, such as a copy of your tribal enrollment card or a letter from the tribe that verifies your tribal status
  • Proof of ANCSA shareholder status (regional or village), such as a copy of the front and back of the shareholder identification card
  • Copy of BIA-issued Certificate of Indian Blood card
  • Copy of IHS eligibility letter