On April 5, 2023, Representative Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) introduced H.R. 2376, a bill that extends federal employee health benefits (FEHB) and dental and vision insurance to employees of urban Indian Organizations (UIOs) and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs). Currently, UIOs and TCUs are considered public service employees, yet are largely ineligible for both FEHB and dental and vision insurance. Original co-sponsors of this bill include Rep. Stansbury (D-NM), Rep. Porter (D-CA), and Rep. Moore (D-WI).
The National Council of Urban Indian Health (NCUIH) worked closely with Representative Grijalva on this legislation to ensure UIOs were appropriately included in the expansion of this program. This legislation is an important step towards fulfilling the federal trust responsibility and ensuring UIO employees have parity with all public service employees.
“Employees at Urban Indian Organizations and Tribal Colleges and Universities are providing an invaluable service to better public health and education in Indian Country—they deserve to receive the same benefits as other public service employees.” – Representative Grijalva
“Access to the Federal Employee Health Benefits program has been instrumental to the Nebraska Urban Indian Health Council’s ability to provide our employees with quality health benefits. Expanding our access to dental and vision coverage will allow us to provide our employees with comprehensive coverage from a single source. We are grateful to Rep. Grijalva for introducing this legislation and for expanding care to ensure that urban Indian organizations are eligible for the program.” – Dr. Donna Polk, CEO of the Nebraska Urban Indian Health Council, a member organization of NCUIH
This bill has been endorsed by NCUIH, American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), and Dr. Sandra Boham, President of Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, Montana.
The bill was referred to the House Energy and Commerce, Natural Resources, and Oversight and Accountability Committees. It currently awaits consideration.