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New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange Approves Native American Navigator Entity

The New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange named Native American Professional Parent Resources, Inc. (NAPPR) as one of two navigator entities in New Mexico. As a navigator entity, NAPPR will perform comprehensive outreach and education regarding new coverage options available through the Affordable Care Act in Native communities across the state. With the help of its partners, Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council, Five Sandoval Indian Pueblos, Inc., the National Indian Youth Council, and the Pueblos of Isleta, Jemez, and Laguna, NAPPR expects to provide in-person consumer assistance to nearly 9000 uninsured American Indians in both tribal and urban communities.

While the federal government is obligated to provide health care services to American Indians, the Indian Health Service (IHS) is funded at just 54% of the actual need and relies on 3rd party reimbursements for much of its operations. Many specialty services are not available through the IHS leaving American Indian consumers dependent on fragmented, inadequate safety net or charity care programs. In New Mexico, preventable chronic disease plagues American Indians at much higher rates than other populations resulting in 3.4 times as many deaths from diabetes.

The Affordable Care Act contains specific provisions designed to encourage American Indian consumers to acquire health coverage through a Health Insurance Exchange. When enrolled in an Exchange plan, tribal members are exempt from co-pays, deductibles and other forms of cost-sharing if their income is less than 300% of the federal poverty level (up to $70,414 for a family of four). Native American Professional Parent Resources, Inc. and its partners expect to enroll up to 9000 individuals in low cost health coverage through the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange.

Jane Larson, Executive Director of Native American Professional Parent Resources, Inc. says, "By creating a Culture of Coverage in our Native communities, we can ensure that more Native people have access to affordable coverage and begin to eliminate the health inequities that exist in New Mexico."

 

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