Connecting Native Youth to Affordable Health Care

A healthcare professional listens.

Promote the health of American Indian and Alaska Native youth by helping them access expanded health care options made possible by the Affordable Care Act.

According to the Indian Health Service (IHS), American Indians and Alaska Natives can now access health care in several ways:

  • They can continue to get services from the IHS, a Tribal program, and/or an Urban Indian Health Program.
  • They can enroll in a qualified health plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace. If they do, they may qualify for special benefits and protections offered to American Indians and Alaska Natives.
  • They can access coverage through Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, also known as CHIP.

The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) and the IHS want social service providers and communities to raise awareness about these health care options among American Indian and Alaska Native youth. To make the task easier, the NIHB and the IHS have produced a free toolkit with brochures, posters, and an accompanying video. To access the toolkit, click on the link on the left side of the toolkit webpage, which will download a zip file to your computer containing all of the materials. If your organization needs hard copies of the materials, send an email to Chawin “Win” Reilly at, or call (202) 507-4070.

Many of the toolkit materials emerged from NIHB’s 2015 Native Youth Summit, when Native youth from over 17 Tribal nations converged on Washington to talk about health care. Here are some details about the toolkit’s components:

  • Video. Titled “Affordable Care Act: What Native Youth Need To Know,” the nine-minute video features American Indian and Alaska Native young people who attended the summit and want to advocate for health care access for the youth in their communities. Viewers will see Native youth engaging lawmakers on health care issues and will learn about several young people’s communities and commitment to Tribal health care reform. Young people narrating the video explain that youth can enroll in coverage year-round and are not restricted to applying during open enrollment season in the fall. Additionally, viewers learn that youth can change their health insurance plans as frequently as once a month.
  • Poster. The campaign designed one poster and created five versions of it, each featuring the photo of a different young person, all accessible from one PDF file. The poster highlights three facts to encourage young people to take charge of their health. For example, youth are reminded that they can join a parent’s plan and stay on it until they turn 26.
  • Brochure. The brochure is available in five versions, each featuring a different photo, and is packed with information, including a list of the services that marketplace health care plans must cover and the number for a 24-hour hotline on health care options.

More on Native Youth Health

Cultivating the Next Generation of Native American Health Professionals

Communicating with Native American Youth about STI Prevention

Q&A: A Bagful of Rocks Helps Native Youth Deal With the Weight of History

Publications discussed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth, the Family and Youth Services Bureau, or the Administration for Children and Families.

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