Community , Government , Health

ON Congress approves $9.3 million for Health Benefit Fund for 2018 costs

For the 2018 calendar year, the Fifth Osage Nation Congress approved a $9.3 million appropriation to fund the Nation’s Health Benefit Fund on Sept. 18.

On Day 12 of the Tzi-Zho Session the Congress unanimously approved the bill (ONCA 17-72 sponsored by Congresswoman Shannon Edwards) during a 5 p.m. session meeting. According to the bill, the funding will come from the Nation’s 2018 revenue of tribal funding in the treasury.

According to a fiscal analysis of the bill, the appropriation will fund the Nation’s Limited Health Benefit plan’s third party administrator. It funds the Limited Health Benefit Plan, eligible to all Osages, and those programs for elders, age 65 and older. The programs for elders include the Medigap coverage (Plan F) and a new program this year, Plan D of the ON Health Benefit, which is a prescription drug benefit.

The analysis also notes 11,350 Osages currently use the Health Benefit and also notes: “The administrator of the Medigap coverage (available to Osage elders age 65 and older) reports that the total cost is roughly $1.5 million with the annual premium estimated to be near $2,320 per elder with the ability for citizens to enroll throughout the year. Early estimates indicate that roughly 400 Osages may choose to participate in the Part D coverage. Expenditures from the Limited Health Benefit Plan are estimated to be $6.8 million in benefits to the Osage people.”

Edwards said “it is estimated that this amount will cover under current levels of expenditures all the expenditures out of the (health benefit) fund.”

ONCA 17-72 passed 12-0 and was sent to Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear’s office for consideration of action.

The Congress will next meet for Day 15 of the Tzi-Zho Session at 10 a.m. Thursday Sept. 21 at the former First National Bank building.

For session information, Congressional meeting notices and agendas for sessions and committee meetings, check the online Legislative Branch calendar at: www.osagenation-nsn.gov/who-we-are/congress-legislative-branch/calendar

For more information on the Nation’s Health Benefit Fund, Medigap Coverage and Plan D, visit https://www.osagenation-nsn.gov/what-we-do/constituent-services