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SDPB Radio Coverage of the South Dakota Legislature. See all coverage and find links to audio and video streams live from the Capitol at

Bill Simplifies Insurance Payment Process for Inmate Healthcare

Members of the Senate Local Government Committee passed a bill that aims to make it simpler for counties to receive payment for inmates’ medical expenses. Currently, if an inmate of a county jail needs care, the county pays the bill and then seeks reimbursement from the inmate’s insurance company. Senate Bill 78 allows officials to bill the insurance company first. Dick Tieszen represents the South Dakota Sherriff’s Association. He says it the legislation helps insure that taxpayers aren’t unnecessarily paying for medical care.

“This bill simply says that in order for the county to be good stewards of your tax money, we need the help of this statute to make sure that the bill gets sent to the right place first,” Tieszen says. “If it gets sent to the county first, the tendency is to pay it. They maybe shouldn’t pay it, because if I have insurance, it ought to get sent to my healthcare provider first for payment.”
Senate Bill 78 passed unanimously and now heads to the Senate floor for further debate.