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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

SD Enters Enrollment Phase for Medicaid Expansion

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Tuesday, June 20, 2023   

July 1st is the official start date for Medicaid expansion in South Dakota, but health organizations involved with outreach say those who fall under the new eligibility guidelines can start applying ahead of time. Last fall, voters gave their consent for the state to use federal incentives to expand the public health coverage program.

Determining Medicaid eligibility appeared daunting and nerve-wracking for first time applicants, said Sarah Houska, a volunteer with the American Heart Association who previously worked with the South Dakota Department of Social Services.

"It is a book we hand you. And while, if someone goes through it with you who knows it, it becomes approachable. But it is still a difficult application for people to approach when they haven't been trained on it," she explained.

To avoid getting frustrated and giving up, she said it is important to seek help, including by contacting the department's customer support team for guidance, or by calling the state's 2-1-1 helpline. Local navigators are also available at the website get-covered-South-Dakota-dot-org.

Tony Burke, state government relations director with the American Heart Association warned it can take up to 45 days to receive an eligibility letter, and added starting the application process now means people might see their health coverage kick in soon after the July 1st launch date. Then, they would be able to get care for health issues they might not have been able to address before.

"Things like outpatient care, emergency services, dealing with hospitalizations for those new moms, maternity and newborn care, any of the issues around mental health and substance-use disorder services," Burke said.

He added eligible people can also begin screenings to improve their heart health. Medicaid expansion in South Dakota is expected to provide coverage to an extra 52,000 people across the state. Income thresholds, which help determine eligibility, can be found on the "Get Covered" website.

Disclosure: American Heart Association of South Dakota contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Civic Engagement, Health Issues, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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