Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are available to qualifying federally recognized American Indians and Alaska Natives. These programs provide better access to services that a local Indian health clinic might not be able to provide.

You can apply for Medicaid or CHIP even if you filed for an exemption from the shared responsibility payment.

To learn how to apply for these programs, visit our Medicaid & CHIP page.

Your Medicaid and CHIP rights and protections

If you’re eligible for services from the Indian Health Service (also known as an Indian hospital or Public Health Service (PHS)), tribal health programs (also known as tribal 638 programs or tribal health clinics), or urban Indian programs (known as I/T/Us), including Contract Health Services:

  • You don’t have to pay Medicaid premiums or enrollment fees.

  • You don’t have to pay out-of-pocket costs like copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles for Medicaid services.

  • In CHIP, you don’t have any out-of-pocket costs.

  • Certain Indian resources and payments aren’t counted for Medicaid and CHIP eligibility, making it easier for some people to qualify.

You can continue to get services through an I/T/U even if the I/T/U is not a provider in your program’s managed care network.

Verifying your tribal status

Applicants may need to provide documentation of U. S. citizenship. The following documents meet the requirements:

  • A document issued by a federally recognized tribe indicating tribal membership
  • An enrollment card
  • A certificate of degree of Indian blood issued by the Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • A tribal census document
  • Any document indicating affiliation with the tribe

Medicaid and CHIP agencies may accept an individual’s attestation regarding Indian status. If the Medicaid or CHIP agency requires documents, American Indians and Alaska Natives may need to prove Indian status or eligibility for services from an Indian health provider.

See the list of federally recognized tribes.