Health Insurance

The Unemployment Rate & The Need For Health Coverage

22 hours ago

In The Moment … May 4, 2020 Show 809 Hour 1

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, north of 30,000 South Dakotans have filed for unemployment benefits. How does one go about transitioning to a new way of getting health coverage? John Snyder is president of the Sanford Health Plan.

Education and Healthcare reporting on SDPB is supported by Monument Health of Rapid City

News: Nov 2 - 8

Nov 8, 2019

Reservations are struggling to fix flood-damaged roads.

One South Dakota lawmaker says the state needs to fulfill the financial promises of a 2013 criminal justice reform package.

Death row inmate Charles Russell Rhines was executed by lethal injection at 7:39 Monday night. 

ABA therapy is one of the most effective treatments for children with autism, but South Dakota families lost health insurance coverage for the expensive therapy earlier this year.

An Egyptian trade delegation arrived in Sioux Falls Sunday night.


Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA therapy, is one of the most effective treatments for children with autism. But South Dakota families lost health insurance coverage for the expensive therapy earlier this year.

The state since added ABA Therapy to its benchmark plan under the Affordable Care Act for 2021, but some families are still without coverage despite a compromise between Sanford and Avera Health Plans. 

In The Moment ... October 10, 2019 Show 677 Hour 2

How much do we pay each year in health care costs? Brace yourself!

Dr. Rick Holm previews tonight's On Call with the Prairie Doc. You can see it on SDPB-TV Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. Central.

In The Moment ... October 24, 2017 Show 205 Hour 1

November first is the first day of open enrollment with the Affordable Care Act. On October 12th, President Trump signed an executive order designed to end Obama-era reimbursements for insurers help with service to low-income consumers. We talk health insurance for South Dakotans with Jennifer Grassrope, Outreach & Enrollment Specialist for the Affordable Care Act, and Kirk Zimmer, Executive Vice President, Sanford Health Plan.

The Office of U.S. Senator Mike Rounds

In The Moment ... July 27, 2017 Show 143 Hour 2

Senator John Thune told the Washington Post that Republicans are "edging closer and closer" to getting 50 votes for a bare-bones plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. As debate continues in the Senate, today we hear from Senator Mike Rounds. We spoke with Senator Rounds yesterday afternoon, when he previewed the procedural challenges of the current debate and laid out his predictions for today.

In The Moment ... July 25, 2017 Show 141 Hour 2

Today marks a landmark vote in the Senate regarding health insurance in America. This morning we caught up with Senator John Thune for details on what exactly today's procedural vote means and what happens in the days ahead.

Lori Walsh

In The Moment ... July 25, 2017 Show 141 Hour 1

Most biographers pay little attention to food. A new book seeks to remedy that. Laura Shapiro is the James Beard award-winning author of "Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories," an account of the relationships six famous women had with food. She joins us to talk about food, gender, and why telling our own food stories.

South Dakota Rock and Roll Music Association

In The Moment ... April 21, 2017 Show 077 Hour 1

South Dakota music legend Nick Schwebach joins us as we celebrate his induction into the South Dakota Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the Lifetime Achievement Award. We’ll talk music and friendship as Schwebach plays live for our weekly Moment in Sound segment.


Medicaid expansion would have extended health care coverage to South Dakotans who make too little money to afford health insurance but too much money to qualify for state programs. With President-elect Donald Trump and a GOP Congress promising to repeal or overhaul the Affordable Care Act, Governor Dennis Daugaard has declined to pursue Medicaid expansion in South Dakota. SDPB's Kealey Bultena joins Dakota Midday to discuss the issue that has become problematic for some.


South Dakotans don't have the answers to many of their health care questions. Between federal administration changes and decisions at the state level, the issue of delivering quality, cost-effective health care is bathed in uncertainty. SDPB's Kealey Bultena joins Dakota Midday host Lori Walsh to answer many of those frequently asked questions.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakotans don’t have answers to many of their health care questions. Between federal administration changes and decisions at the state level, the issue of delivering quality, cost-effective health care is bathed in uncertainty. Local advocates say patients should not panic; instead they say people can better understand the factors at play nationally and within South Dakota – and know that people are fighting for their wellness.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Medicaid expansion in South Dakota may not happen, but many health care providers say they’re not giving up on reforms that could help the working poor. Some health leaders are looking for other ways to deliver medical care to thousands of people.

Doctor Tim Ridgway says the point of the complicated medical system is to take care of people and improve the health of all individuals in communities.

Ridgway says navigating those elements and figuring out how to pay for all of it is an intricate process.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota political leaders say Medicaid expansion is off the table in the 2017 legislative session.  But one lawmaker says that doesn’t solve the problem of people not being able to afford health coverage.

Governor Dennis Daugaard announced Tuesday that he will not prioritize Medicaid expansion in the next legislative session. He says he made the decision to not expand Medicaid in South Dakota after a meeting with Vice President Elect Mike Pence.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A new agreement preserves health insurance options for 26,000 State of South Dakota employees. State leaders and Sanford Health negotiated to cover state employees at an in-network cost. That allows some DakotaCare patients to see Sanford doctors without huge price increases.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Thousands of South Dakotans must change doctors and clinics if they want their health insurance to cover the care. Starting January 1, 2017, Sanford Health no longer accepts Avera insurance including DakotaCare, and Avera Health in South Dakota isn't taking Sanford Health Plan insurance. That leaves some people who can't afford to pay out of pocket with little choice, and it requires others to leave trusted medical providers to find new services that work with their insurance.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Avera Health is removing its South Dakota hospitals, clinics, and physicians from the Sanford Health Plan. The change means people who have Sanford insurance won’t have coverage if they go to Avera’s providers. It’s the latest development in a health care clash among the state’s two largest health systems.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakotans who don’t have insurance are more likely to skip cancer screenings. Figures from the South Dakota Department of Health show insurance status affects patients’ preventative care decisions.

Health leaders are examining cancer screening rates, and they say a stark division emerges when breaking down the numbers.

Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon leads South Dakota’s Department of Health. She says people without insurance receive fewer cancer screenings than people with health coverage.

Lawmakers are considering a bill that changes the types of health plans allowed in South Dakota. It modifies an initiated measure passed in 2014.


Kealey Bultena / SDPB

State leaders are talking weekly with federal officials as they work on a change that could prompt Medicaid expansion in South Dakota. Governor Dennis Daugaard says federal leaders need to settle their policy before South Dakotans can decide whether the state can financially support as many as 55,000 more people on Medicaid.

The Medicaid expansion discussion typically falls along party lines. Democrats push for the state to accept federal dollars and change the rules to make more people eligible for the program, while Republican lawmakers and the governor says it’s too expensive.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

The deadline looms for seniors who want insurance plans to help cover the cost of prescription drugs. Monday is the last day to enroll in or change Medicare Part D insurance plans. One expert says seniors should find out whether they can benefit from prescription drug coverage, even if they’re already enrolled.

Medicare Part D plans are private health insurance from private companies that are subsidized by the federal government. That means seniors pay for the drug plans, but they don’t have to cover the full cost of the insurance out of pocket.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Avera Health is buying insurance organization DakotaCare. Company leaders are not revealing the purchase price. Talks started two weeks ago, and representatives for both entities could reach a final deal by the end of this month. Leaders say customers and employees likely won’t notice changes in the short term.

The board chair for DAKOTACARE says health insurance reform can be good for consumers but difficult on insurance companies. Doctor Kevin Bjordahl says sometimes making insurance affordable for a patient puts a strain on insurance providers.

Three people who represent South Dakota in the nation’s capital are reacting to a US Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act. Thursday six of the nine justices agreed that people are still eligible for insurance subsidies using a federal health insurance exchange. Thirty-four states do not have state-run marketplaces.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Health and dental insurance premiums for Sioux Falls employees are the same now as they were 10 years ago. The details are cumbersome, but officials cite three main reasons they have managed to avoid increases. Leaders say the situation is unusual and it probably won’t last long-term.

The health plan for the City of Sioux Falls has about $14 million in claims every year. Compensation and benefits manager says, despite that price tag, employees haven’t paid higher costs for coverage for a decade.

Kealey Bultena SDPB

When South Dakotans go to the polls on Tuesday, they’ll vote on a ballot measure dealing with healthcare. Initiated Measure 17 would change state law by requiring health insurers to include all willing and qualified health insurers on their provider lists. It would allow medical doctors, clinics, and specialty hospitals to become part of insurance networks that they currently can’t join.

United States Senator John Thune is debating unemployment insurance on Wednesday in Washington DC.  Thune says the Senate is not tackling the unemployment problem the way it should.

Thune says it’s important to look at what’s causing unemployment rather than just grooming those affected, back to health.

The State House passed a measure on Wednesday that helps cover medical bills for children with a hearing impairment. Democratic State Representative Julie Bartling says the medical procedures needed to improve a childs hearing can be expensive for family members. She says this bill helps cushion the financial burden.

The House Health and Human Services committee passed House Bill 1244 on Thursday to help give health insurance to South Dakotans below the 100 percent poverty line. An amendment to the bill deals with hospital tax exemptions.  It removes the tax exemption from hospitals with over 50 beds. Republican State Representative Steve Hickey says the amendment is a long shot. But he says it’s a conversation that needs to happen within the state legislature.

Medicaid Expansion

Feb 6, 2014

Supporters of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act say it's a benefit for South Dakotans.  Governor Dennis Daugaard has resisted expansion, saying he's concerned the federal government could renege on its promise to pay most of the cost.  Last week, however, Daugaard made a move that could partially expand Medicaid in the state.  He sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asking for permission to cover people earning up to 100% of the poverty line in the Medicaid program.  The Affordable Care Act calls for states to expand up to 133% of the poverty

New Health Insurance Marketplaces In SD

Sep 30, 2013

Tomorrow, the new health insurance marketplaces under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are scheduled to start signing up customers. South Dakota is one of thirty-six states letting the federal government set up its insurance marketplace. The on-line marketplace allows people to buy health insurance as part of an effort to reduce the numbers of uninsured. In South Dakota, the state Division of Insurance has certified Avera Health Plans, Sanford Health Plan and Dakotacare.