Cancer Advocates Urge Governor Noem to Veto Bill that Undermines Patient Protections

Senate Bill 87 would result in higher insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs for South Dakotans

February 10, 2021

Pierre, S.D. – Today, the South Dakota House passed Senate Bill 87 with a vote of 50-16 (four excused) to allow the sale of inadequate health plans that are exempt from state insurance regulation and that can avoid patient protections required by federal law. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) urges Governor Kristi Noem to veto this legislation that would authorize products with the potential of segmenting the insurance market, driving up premiums and making it harder for South Dakotans who live with serious or chronic diseases to find health insurance.

A statement from David W. Benson, government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) in South Dakota follows:

“ACS CAN believes everyone should have quality and affordable health care coverage. However, because the plans offered under SB 87 will not have to comply with requirements that limit out-of-pocket costs and may not provide coverage of essential health benefits, patients could be forced to disrupt or delay recommended screenings and treatments, or worse, forgo care entirely because of astronomical out-of-pocket costs.

“In addition, since these health plans are exempt from state or federal regulations, enrollees would be left with no coverage and high out-of-pocket costs if their plan becomes financially unable to pay claims. Patients could be left adrift without any type of health coverage if their plan runs out of money.

“The products authorized under SB 87 will likely attract younger, healthier individuals, segmenting the individual marketplace risk pool in South Dakota and leaving it with older, sicker and more expensive enrollees. This would result in increased prices for everyday South Dakotans —like cancer survivors—who seek comprehensive coverage on the individual marketplace so they can affordably manage their complex health conditions.

“We’re asking Governor Noem to veto SB 87 and defend patient protections. If this legislation is implemented, the consequences could prove disastrous for many South Dakotans.”

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