Except as provided in subsection (f), the United States, an Indian tribe, or tribal organization shall have the right to recover from an insurance company, health maintenance organization, employee benefit plan, third-party tortfeasor, or any other responsible or liable third party (including a political subdivision or local governmental entity of a State) the reasonable charges billed by the Secretary, an Indian tribe, or tribal organization in providing health services through the Service, an Indian tribe, or tribal organization, or, if higher, the highest amount the third party would pay for care and services furnished by providers other than governmental entities, to any individual to the same extent that such individual, or any nongovernmental provider of such services, would be eligible to receive damages, reimbursement, or indemnification for such charges or expenses if—
(1)such services had been provided by a nongovernmental provider; and
(2)such individual had been required to pay such charges or expenses and did pay such charges or expenses.
(b) Limitations on recoveries from States
Subsection (a) shall provide a right of recovery against any State, only if the injury, illness, or disability for which health services were provided is covered under—
(1)workers’ compensation laws; or
(2)a no-fault automobile accident insurance plan or program.
(c) Nonapplicability of other laws
No law of any State, or of any political subdivision of a State and no provision of any contract, insurance or health maintenance organization policy, employee benefit plan, self-insurance plan, managed care plan, or other health care plan or program entered into or renewed after November 23, 1988, shall prevent or hinder the right of recovery of the United States, an Indian tribe, or tribal organization under subsection (a).
(d) No effect on private rights of action
No action taken by the United States, an Indian tribe, or tribal organization to enforce the right of recovery provided under this section shall operate to deny to the injured person the recovery for that portion of the person’s damage not covered hereunder.
(1) In general
The United States, an Indian tribe, or tribal organization may enforce the right of recovery provided under subsection (a) by—
(A)intervening or joining in any civil action or proceeding brought—
(i)by the individual for whom health services were provided by the Secretary, an Indian tribe, or tribal organization; or
(ii)by any representative or heirs of such individual, or
(B)instituting a separate civil action, including a civil action for injunctive relief and other relief and including, with respect to a political subdivision or local governmental entity of a State, such an action against an official thereof.
All reasonable efforts shall be made to provide notice of action instituted under paragraph (1)(B) to the individual to whom health services were provided, either before or during the pendency of such action.
(3) Recovery from tortfeasors
(A) In general
In any case in which an Indian tribe or tribal organization that is authorized or required under a compact or contract issued pursuant to the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450 et seq.) to furnish or pay for health services to a person who is injured or suffers a disease on or after March 23, 2010, under circumstances that establish grounds for a claim of liability against the tortfeasor with respect to the injury or disease, the Indian tribe or tribal organization shall have a right to recover from the tortfeasor (or an insurer of the tortfeasor) the reasonable value of the health services so furnished, paid for, or to be paid for, in accordance with the Federal Medical Care Recovery Act (42 U.S.C. 2651 et seq.), to the same extent and under the same circumstances as the United States may recover under that Act.
The right of an Indian tribe or tribal organization to recover under subparagraph (A) shall be independent of the rights of the injured or diseased person served by the Indian tribe or tribal organization.
Absent specific written authorization by the governing body of an Indian tribe for the period of such authorization (which may not be for a period of more than 1 year and which may be revoked at any time upon written notice by the governing body to the Service), the United States shall not have a right of recovery under this section if the injury, illness, or disability for which health services were provided is covered under a self-insurance plan funded by an Indian tribe, tribal organization, or urban Indian organization. Where such authorization is provided, the Service may receive and expend such amounts for the provision of additional health services consistent with such authorization.
(g) Costs and attorney’s fees
In any action brought to enforce the provisions of this section, a prevailing plaintiff shall be awarded its reasonable attorney’s fees and costs of litigation.
(h) Nonapplicability of claims filing requirements
An insurance company, health maintenance organization, self-insurance plan, managed care plan, or other health care plan or program (under the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. 301 et seq.] or otherwise) may not deny a claim for benefits submitted by the Service or by an Indian tribe or tribal organization based on the format in which the claim is submitted if such format complies with the format required for submission of claims under title XVIII of the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. 1395 et seq.] or recognized under section 1175 of such Act [42 U.S.C. 1320d–4].
(i) Application to urban Indian organizations
The previous provisions of this section shall apply to urban Indian organizations with respect to populations served by such Organizations  in the same manner they apply to Indian tribes and tribal organizations with respect to populations served by such Indian tribes and tribal organizations.
(j) Statute of limitations
The provisions of section
2415 of title
28 shall apply to all actions commenced under this section, and the references therein to the United States are deemed to include Indian tribes, tribal organizations, and urban Indian organizations.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit any right of recovery available to the United States, an Indian tribe, or tribal organization under the provisions of any applicable, Federal, State, or tribal law, including medical lien laws.
 So in original. Probably should not be capitalized.
The Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, referred to in subsec. (e)(3)(A), is Pub. L. 93–638, Jan. 4, 1975, 88 Stat. 2203, which is classified principally to subchapter II (§ 450 et seq.) of chapter
14 of this title. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section
450 of this title and Tables.
The Federal Medical Care Recovery Act, referred to in subsec. (e)(3)(A), probably means Pub. L. 87–693, Sept. 25, 1962, 76 Stat. 593, which is classified generally to chapter 32 (§ 2651 et seq.) of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Tables.
The Social Security Act, referred to in subsec. (h), is act Aug. 14, 1935, ch. 531, 49 Stat. 620, which is classified generally to chapter 7 (§ 301 et seq.) of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare. Title XVIII of the Act is classified generally to subchapter XVIII (§ 1395 et seq.) of chapter
7 of Title
42. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section
1305 of Title
42 and Tables.
Amendment by Pub. L. 111–148is based on section 125 of title I of S. 1790, One Hundred Eleventh Congress, as reported by the Committee on Indian Affairs of the Senate in Dec. 2009, which was enacted into law by section 10221(a) ofPub. L. 111–148.
2010—Pub. L. 111–148amended section generally. Prior to amendment, section related to right of recovery of costs of health services by the United States, an Indian tribe, or a tribal organization from certain third parties.
1992—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 102–573, § 209(b)(1), substituted “Except as provided in subsection (f) of this section, the” for “The”.
Pub. L. 102–573, § 209(a)(1)–(3), inserted “, an Indian tribe, or a tribal organization” after “United States”, after “Service”, and after “Secretary”.
Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 102–573, § 209(a)(4), struck out “, or any political subdivision of a State,” after “against any State”.
Subsecs. (c), (d). Pub. L. 102–573, § 209(a)(1), inserted “, an Indian tribe, or a tribal organization” after “United States”.
Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 102–573, § 209(a)(1), (3), inserted “, an Indian tribe, or a tribal organization” after “United States” in two places and after “Secretary”.
The table below lists the classification updates, since Jan. 3, 2012, for this section. Updates to a broader range of sections may be found at the update page for containing chapter, title, etc.
The most recent Classification Table update that we have noticed was Tuesday, August 13, 2013
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Description of Change
Statutes at Large
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