Zero Cost Sharing Benefit: A Guide for Native Americans on ACA Marketplace Plans

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides a zero cost sharing benefit for Native American individuals and families below 300% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) who enroll in qualified health insurance plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace. This means that these individuals can receive essential health benefits with no deductibles, copays, or coinsurance. However, some important factors should be considered when taking advantage of this benefit.

Key Features of the Zero Cost Sharing Benefit

1. Eligibility:

Individuals must be Native American and below 300% FPL.
They must enroll in a qualified health insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

2. Benefits:

Zero deductibles, copays, and coinsurance for essential health benefits.
This includes preventive care, doctor visits, hospitalizations, emergency services, and prescription drugs.

Misconceptions and Clarifications

1. Reimbursement of Incorrect Estimates:

If individuals estimate their income incorrectly and exceed 300% FPL in a particular year, they will not be required to repay the insurance company for the zero-cost services they received.
However, if this occurs repeatedly, the Marketplace may review the individual’s tax records and determine that they are not making a good faith effort in estimating their income.

2. Out-of-Network Coverage:

The zero cost sharing benefit only applies to in-network providers.
Out-of-network providers may have higher charges than in-network providers, and individuals may be responsible for balance billing.
As a result, it is still advisable to choose an in-network provider whenever possible.

3. Health Savings Accounts (HSAs):

Native Americans receiving the zero cost sharing benefit are not eligible to contribute to HSAs.
HSAs require a high deductible to be considered eligible, and the zero deductible under the benefit makes them ineligible.

Tips for Maximizing the Zero Cost Sharing Benefit

Choose an in-network plan: This will minimize out-of-pocket expenses.
Stay informed about your income: Monitor your income and report any changes to the Marketplace to avoid potential penalties.
Consult with a licensed insurance agent: They can assist you in finding the most suitable plan and answer any questions you may have.


The zero cost sharing benefit for Native Americans on ACA Marketplace plans is an important benefit that can help individuals and families access affordable health care. However, it is crucial to understand the eligibility requirements, limitations, and potential pitfalls. By taking these factors into consideration, individuals can make informed decisions about their health insurance coverage and maximize the benefits available to them. Remember to seek professional guidance from a licensed insurance agent to ensure you make the best choice for your specific situation.

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