Using data from the American Community Survey 2012 5-Year Sample, this map presents information on Native American households with at least one household member enrolled in Medicare and with incomes below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), which makes them potentially eligible for many core benefits. This map does not indicate whether households are already receiving benefits; instead, it is meant to indicate areas where there are high concentrations of poverty among Native populations.

How to use this map

Select state from the dropdown menu.

By mousing over the county in the map or looking at the county list below the map, you can identify the approximate number of people in that county who lived in a household with someone who identified as Native American/Alaska Native/American Indian, was enrolled in Medicare, and has income below 150% FPL.

Darker shaded counties correspond with higher numbers of such households/individuals, which may warrant special attention from counselors who seek to do outreach to this population.

Why this data matters

Older Native Americans and those with disabilities are among the most economically vulnerable groups among the Medicare population. Native Americans in general represent one of the most critically underserved demographics in the United States. As a result, in many states and particularly those with large Native American populations, closing the gap in benefits enrollment will require reaching out to low-income Native American households.

The data presented in this map can help state and community aging organizations locate such large concentrations of low-income Native American people who are enrolled in Medicare and are likely to be eligible for benefits. After identifying geographic concentrations, we recommend using the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ tribal directory to find contacts for tribal organizations in those counties and working with them to educate and enroll people in benefits for which they qualify.

It should be noted that the majority of Native Americans and Alaska Natives in the United States live outside reservations. Many live in cities. In 20 states, there are official Title V Urban Indian Health Centers (UIHC) that provide health care services to Native Americans within those urban areas. In urban areas counties served by a UIHC with large concentrations of Medicare-enrolled Native Americans who are likely eligible for benefits like Part D Extra Help, Medicare Savings Programs, and SNAP, aging network partners can work with the UIHCs on strategies to educate and enroll people they serve.