Insurance and IHS
As an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Indian Health Service (IHS) is the federal health program dedicated to providing health services to American Indians and Alaska Natives.
One way the Affordable Care Act affects the IHS is by permanently reauthorizing the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA). The IHCIA was enacted in 1976 and has been reauthorized several times since. The IHCIA delivers the legal authority for health care provision to American Indians and Alaska Natives. Additionally, the ACA establishes new programs to help meet the health needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives.
The ACA is also allowing for qualifying tribes and tribal organizations to purchase insurance for their employees, which also helps to decrease the cost of insurance premiums. Additionally, the IHS and other tribal programs can sometimes qualify for reimbursements through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).