The health benefit card applications, which tribal officials hoped would arrive in mailboxes last month, are tentatively to be mailed out by the end of this month by Mutual Assurance Administrators, Inc.
The negotiations with MAA delayed the contract’s completion but MAA has since signed the contract and tribal officials are working with MAA to complete the applications as soon as possible, said Matt McDonald, Osage Nation Executive Branch legal counsel.
“The Nation is still on track to meet the deadline, and our office is working very diligently to avoid any delays,” McDonald said.
The applications will be mailed to the address that the Nation’s CDIB office has on file for each tribal member. Once tribal members receive their applications they are to fill them out and send them back to MAA. Once MAA receives the completed application they will process it and send the tribal member an encoded debit card worth $500.
The debit card allows payment for all items that the Internal Revenue Service considers tax-deductible medical expenses. The debit card covers most medical expenses except for abortions, which the Osage Nation Congress declined to fund.
Some of the items on the IRS-approved list includes eyeglasses, dentures, braces, wheelchairs, alcoholism treatment, insulin treatment, surgery (except cosmetic procedures), hearing aids, medical transportation expenses, prescription costs, some over-the-counter drug costs, vaccines, X-rays, home repair if medically needed and other items. Reimbursement for eligible medical expenses will also be available.
Osages must spend the entire $500 by the end of the calendar year, Dec. 2010—there is no carryover of unspent funds to the next year. However, Osages can reapply for subsequent years as long as funding is available.
The Osage Nation Congress passed the $5.1 million health benefit plan that will provide Osages everywhere with a $500 medical debit card in the 2008 Tzi-Zho session. Applications will be accepted throughout the calendar year.
To update your address with the CDIB office, call (918) 287-5390. For more information about the $500 health benefit card, call Constituent Services at (918) 287-5662.