42 CFR § 136a.16 - Beneficiary Identification Cards and verification of tribal membership.
(a) The Indian Health Service will issue Beneficiary Identification Cards as evidence of beneficiary status to persons who are currently eligible for services under § 36a.12(a). Persons requesting Beneficiary Identification Cards must submit or have on file evidence satisfactory to the Indian Health Service of tribal membership and residence within a Health Service Delivery Area. The absence of a Beneficiary Identification Card will not preclude an otherwise eligible Indian from obtaining services though it may delay the administrative determination that an individual is eligible for services on a no charge basis.
(b) For establishing eligibility or obtaining a Beneficiary Identification Card, applicants must demonstrate that they are members of a federally recognized tribe. Membership in a federally recognized tribe is to be determined by the individual tribe or the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Therefore, the Indian Health Service will recognize two methods of demonstrating tribal membership:
(1) Documentation that the applicant meets the requirements of tribal membership as prescribed by the charter, articles of incorporation, or other legal instruments or traditional processes of the tribe and has been officially designated a tribal member by an authorized tribal official or body; or
(2) Certification of tribal enrollment or membership by the Secretary of the Interior acting through the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
(c) Demonstrating membership in a federally recognized tribe is the responsibility of the applicant. However, the Indian Health Service may consult with the appropriate tribe or the Bureau of Indian Affairs on outstanding questions regarding an applicant's tribal membership if the Indian Health Service has some documentation that it believes may be helpful to the tribe or the Bureau of Indian Affairs in making their determination.