Weather Forecast


SD defers to insurance companies on health care law

By Carson Walker

South Dakota will allow insurance companies to decide whether to allow a few thousand state residents to keep their health plans that otherwise would be canceled under the federal health care law.

The Division of Insurance made the announcement Tuesday in response to President Barack Obama’s decision Nov. 14 to give companies the option of extending policies for another year. The state still had to approve the changes.

“The federal government was not dictating that we needed to do this. They left it up to the states,” said state insurance director Merle Scheiber. “We had a choice.”

Of the three Sioux Fallsbased health systems approved to offer plans on the health exchange in South Dakota, Avera Health Plans and DAKOTACARE said they will give individuals and groups the option of keeping their plans. Sanford Health Plan said it will reinstate the policies that were due to expire on Dec. 31.