Government

Health Benefit Act up for amendments during special session Oct. 26

The Fifth Osage Nation Congress will convene for its 10th Special Session starting on Oct. 26 at the former First National Bank Building in Pawhuska.

A Congressional Proclamation calling for the special session lists a single item up for consideration as of Oct. 16, which is a bill to amend the Health Benefit Act. The proclamation was issued after two-thirds of the 12-member Congress signed the proclamation calling for the special session.

The Congress will continue considering the bill ONCA 17-116 (sponsored by Congressman Ron Shaw), which seeks to amend the Osage law establishing the Health Benefit Act. This bill was filed during the 2017 Tzi-Zho Session on Sept. 20, but did not receive further consideration by the time Congress voted to end the session on Sept. 29.

According to a filed copy of proposed amendments in ONCA 17-116, the ON Treasurer “shall set the maximum amount payable for Members under age 65 under the plan on or before Oct. 1 of each fiscal year for expenditure of the following calendar year. The annual benefit for Osages over age 65 will remain at $1,000 and there will continue to be the option for Osages over age 65 to receive Medicare supplemental coverage Plan F under this proposed law change.

The Nation currently offers a $500 Health Benefit card to all tribal members, and a $1,000 Health Benefit card to all tribal members over the age of 65. Earlier this month, the Nation announced the new administrator for the Health Benefit Plan is WageWorks Inc.

For unused health benefit funds in each individual account, the proposed law amendment states: “Unused benefits may accrue on individual and family accounts receiving benefits of this Act up to $1,500 on an individual account and up to the sum of $1,500 multiplied by the number of participants in a family account. No accrual value shall apply to those individuals receiving the Medicare supplemental coverage.”

Another proposed law change would require the plan administrator to submit quarterly financial and benefit use reports to the Principal Chief and Congress, if passed with the language as written.

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 about WageWorks and upcoming deadlines, visit the Nation’s website at https://www.osagenation-nsn.gov/member-services/health-benefits-information-wageworks