Applications now accepted for South Dakota Medicaid expansion

Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 6:28 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Although Medicaid expansion in the state of South Dakota doesn’t take effect for another month, the window to apply opened on Thursday. A kickoff event was held for advocates and patients to review the benefits for those who qualify.

“Today has been long overdue. No one should have to choose between bankrupting their family and getting the health coverage they need,” said Dr. Dan Johnson from the American Cancer Society.

After the hard work of gathering petition signatures and talking to voters, Medicaid expansion advocates are celebrating enrollment opening for South Dakota residents.

“Just makes life easier as a provider. But really, at the end of the day, what it is, is it’s better care for the patients, which means better health outcomes. I mean, that’s why I went into medicine is to make people feel better,” said Falls Community Health Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jennifer Tinguely.

Over 50,000 people will be eligible for Medicaid, as voters approved Constitutional Amendment D last November. Erik Nelson, an advocate with AARP, has had positive conversations with the state handling the logistics of enrollment.

“They have kept us aware of the software updates that they’re dealing with, and really to their credit, we don’t show it having any impact on the application and enrollment process,” Nelson said.

Even if applicants don’t have their application completed by the July 1 effective date, a plan is in place.

“It does expect an increase in applications. But even if you’re not approved right ahead of July 1, there is some retroactivity,” said Nelson.

Among those finding relief is Lisa Thompson, who lost coverage when moving back home to South Dakota from Minnesota.

“Without having insurance, it’s been a financial struggle, has been an emotional one, has been a physical one is just, you know, just fill in all of the blanks because in the end, it’s just nice that this gap is finally going to be closed,” said patient Lisa Thompson.

A family of four earning $41,400 or less will qualify under the new guidelines starting July 1.

To learn more about coverage options, visit Resources on the website include a local navigator who can offer free support.