Alaska Natives, American Indians exempt from Affordable Care Act

The Obama administration ruled Wednesday that all Alaska Natives and American Indians who are eligible for services from the Indian Health Service are exempt from having to purchase healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Prior to the ruling, only members of federally recognized tribes and shareholders in Alaska Native corporations could be exempted from the so-called shared responsibility payment.

“The administration is taking steps to honor our historical commitment to the rights of American Indians and Alaska Natives and ensure that individuals protected under the Indian Health Care Improvement Act benefit from the special provisions in the Affordable Care Act,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius in a press release.

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