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.