Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Only 17,000 of 70,000 Native Americans here eligible for cheap or free insurance sign up


After Antoinette Arkinson tore a ligament in her knee, her doctor recommended surgery. But despite treaties mandating health care be provided to Native Americans, the referral request was denied because Indian Health Service funding was only available to pay for treatment of life-threatening cases.

A few weeks later, now enrolled for insurance coverage through the marketplace, the 35-year-old plans to ask again about that surgery.

Count her among the thousands of tribal members to sign up for coverage through private or public programs in Montana, a state that has consistently ranked as having the highest uninsured rate among Native Americans. Arkinson’s experience highlights shifting health care options for tribal members after federal and state health care reforms.


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