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American Indian/Alaska Native

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Tribal Affairs Group works closely with American Indian and Alaskan Native communities and leaders to enable access to culturally competent healthcare to eligible Medicare and Medicaid recipients in Indian Country. CMS collaborates with the Indian Health Service and other federal partners to facilitate access to high quality and timely healthcare.

Through the Medicare, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs, CMS provides for the delivery of healthcare to American Indian and Alaskan Native (AI/AN) people. Funding from these program accounts for a significant portion of the Indian health care budget. Due to the special relationship between the federal government and Indian Tribes, CMS frequently has special rules when working with the Indian Health Service, Tribes and Urban Indian programs (I/T/Us).

Click on The Role of CMS in Indian Health Care to view highlights of the history of Indian Health Care, CMS Tribal Consultation and the significant impact that CMS programs have in Indian Country.   CMS established a Tribal Technical Advisory Group (TTAG) in 2004 to seek input and advice on policies and strategies to increase AI/AN access to CMS programs. TTAG adopted a 2010-2015 Strategic Plan that sets out three targets: (a) establishing and improving access to CMS funded long term care services; (b) implementing strategies to increase AI/AN enrollment in CMS programs; and (c) identifying current and future administrative, regulatory, and legislative policies that affect AI/AN beneficiaries and providers.

Since 2004, there have been significant changes in Federal healthcare legislation. The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) codified the TTAG/CMS relationship, strengthening the already well-established collaboration between CMS and I/T/Us. The Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) added new provisions to eliminate barriers and fund innovative strategies to increase enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP, specifically for AI/AN beneficiaries. And most recently, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) was enacted, representing historic reform by expanding health coverage to millions of the uninsured, strengthening the coverage of those already insured, and dramatically expanding programs like Medicaid, CHIP, and Medicare. Within the vast reforms in PPACA, AI/AN populations will be affected not only by the general provisions, but through specific, explicit provisions, including the permanent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.

CMS has funded a number of initiatives to improve healthcare services to American Indian and Alaskan Native individuals who are eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. This site provides background, practical tools and evidence-based strategies for AI/AN communities to navigate through federal and state requirements to provide for healthcare services. For more information about CMS initiatives in Indian Country, contact or visit your regional CMS Native American Contact (NAC).