Healthcare For South Dakotans

Oct 24, 2013

The Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace has been open since the first of October, although there have been many technical problems on the health exchange web site over the past three weeks. South Dakota is one of 36 states letting the federal government run its health exchange, where consumers can compare plans and buy health insurance. But nonprofits and advocacy groups funded by federal grants are helping residents navigate the system and sign up for coverage. State officials quote the total number of uninsured in South Dakota at 71,000, citing a survey in 2011 by Market Decisions. The Census Bureau says it's 92,000. The Native American population in the state is 82,000.  Duran says about half of them do not have health insurance coverage.  The Affordable Care Act exempts tribal members from the individual mandate and any penalties for not buying insurance. Kim Jones, statewide coordinator for the South Dakota Navigator Coalition, and Tinka Duran, program manager for the Great Plains Tribal Chairman's Health Board's health insurance exchange navigator project, discussed the importance of having health insurance.