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American Indians can enroll in health insurance plans after March 31

The deadline to enroll in coverage is March 31 — unless you’re a member of an American Indian tribe that accesses services through Indian health clinics.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: March 24, 2014
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Sarah Payne isn’t sure why she has daily migraines, but she hopes to get answers soon.

Payne has an appointment with a neurologist, something she could not afford until she recently bought a private health insurance plan through the federal marketplace.

“I could have an aneurysm. There could be a tumor in my head we don’t know about,” Payne said. “But because I haven’t been to a doctor in four years, who knows?”

Payne, 35, a hair stylist in Oklahoma City, is among thousands of Oklahomans who have selected private health insurance plans through the federal health insurance marketplace created through the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare.

The deadline to select a marketplace plan is March 31 unless — like Payne, a member of the Cherokee Nation — you are a member of an American Indian tribe that has members who receive services at Indian health clinics.

For these tribal members, marketplace enrollment is always open. And if tribal members have an income between 100 percent and 300 percent of the federal poverty level, they don’t have any out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles, said Cori Loomis, a health care attorney with the Crowe & Dunlevy law firm.

American Indians generally can get a range of health care services at tribal health clinics and hospitals.

However, when they need services beyond the scope of what’s available at those facilities, they might be referred to health services at other facilities provided at the expense of Indian Health Service, according to the health service.

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by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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The Oklahoma City Indian Clinic recently published “Helping American Indian families understand the Affordable Care Act.” You can see it online at www.okcic.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/HORIZONS_ADA.pdf

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