Denise Mesteth says she's hopeful but skeptical her new health insurance through the Affordable Care Act can help her and other Native Americans who otherwise rely on free government health care.
She hadn't used the insurance coverage yet but paid the premium, even though she and other members of federally recognized tribes have access to free care through Indian Health Service. They can also get an exemption from the federal health reform's insurance mandate.
Mesteth and other American Indians in South Dakota account for 2.5 percent of the people in the state who have signed up for insurance under the federal health care law.
The latest numbers show the state ranks third nationally for the percentage of enrollees who are American Indian among U.S. states using the federal marketplace.
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