PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – A quirk in the federal health care law that could force tens of thousands of people who identify as Native American to start paying for insurance or pay a fine isn’t expected to affect many in the Dakotas.
Enrolled members of federally recognized tribes are exempt from the Affordable Care Act’s mandate requiring people to carry health insurance or pay a minimum $695 annual fine.
However, those who identify as Native American but who aren’t official members of such tribes are subject to it. Many currently receive free health care through the Indian Health Service, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Officials say the mandate isn’t likely to affect many American Indians in North Dakota or South Dakota because nearly all are enrolled tribal members.
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