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PNS Daily Newscast - November 20, 2017 


On our Monday nationwide rundown; decision day for the Keystone XL pipeline; a border patrol agent killed in the line of duty in Texas; and time is running out to comment on fees that could double or triple at many National Parks in 2018.

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South Dakotans Urged to Sign Up Early During ACA Open Enrollment

Open enrollment for health insurance on the federal marketplace has been cut from three months to 45 days this year. (DarkoStojanovic/Pixabay)
Open enrollment for health insurance on the federal marketplace has been cut from three months to 45 days this year. (DarkoStojanovic/Pixabay)
October 31, 2017

PIERRE, S.D. – The open-enrollment period to purchase health insurance on the federal marketplace begins Wednesday. Folks in South Dakota can go to healthcare.gov or get local help at getcoveredsouthdakota.org, which includes scheduling in-person meetings for help signing up.

Shelly Ten Napel, chief executive director of the Community HealthCare Association of the Dakotas, says because the enrollment period has been cut from three months to 45 days, people should sign up as soon as they can.

"There's been a trend of kind of waiting until that last week, which we all do, wait until the deadline," she says. "But given the fewer resources that are out there to help people enroll and the shorter timeframe in which those fewer people have to enroll, the same number of individuals, I think it will be really important to get out the word about signing up early."

Open enrollment ends December 15. The federal government has cut the marketing budget for insurance exchanges and also the budget for navigators - individuals who help people find plans. Premiums are expected to go up in South Dakota because the Trump administration has decided to end cost-sharing payments to insurance companies.

In South Dakota, there has been growing interest in the health-insurance marketplace. Last year, there was a 14-percent increase in the number of enrollees and this year more than 30,000 South Dakotans are enrolled through the marketplace. Ten Napel hopes to see similar trends during signup for next year.

"What we want to make sure is that we don't lose momentum this year and that we continue building on that track record and working together as South Dakotans to make sure that all of our friends and neighbors know that they can sign up for coverage and get help affording health care if they need it," she explains.

Ten Napel says 90 percent of people who enroll through the marketplace receive premium subsidies to lower the cost of coverage.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - SD