WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration says it is broadening an exemption for American Indians from the new health care law's requirement that virtually every U.S. resident has health insurance starting next year. New rules clarify that people who are eligible to receive medical care through the federal Indian Health Service will be exempt from the requirement to have health insurance or face fines from the Internal Revenue Service.
The law exempted only Native Americans who can document their membership in one of about 560 tribes recognized by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. There are more than 100 tribes nationwide that are recognized only by states and not the federal government. Thousands of people who consider themselves Indian would have faced the penalties.