Cancer-Fighting Advocates Strongly Oppose Bill that Undermines Patient Protections

An exemption from state or federal regulations would result in higher insurance prices and out-of-pocket costs for many South Dakotans

February 2, 2021

Pierre, S.D.  – The South Dakota Senate is considering Senate Bill 87 that will allow the sale of inadequate health plans that are exempt from state insurance regulation and that can avoid patient protections required by federal law.

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 healthcare coverage. However, the products authorized under SB 87 have the potential of segmenting the insurance market, driving up premiums and making it harder for South Dakotans who live with serious or chronic disease to find health insurance.

“When someone enrolls in health insurance, they expect their plan to provide coverage for necessary health care. Because these plans 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.

“These products 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.

“If this legislation is passed, the consequences could prove disastrous for many South Dakotans. We strongly urge our state senators to reject SB 87.”

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