More South Dakotan Without Health Insurance Coverage in 2015
More South Dakotans were without health insurance coverage in 2015, according to federal data. The state's overall uninsured rate rose slightly in 2015 to 12.0 percent from 11.4 percent in 2014.
For health insurance coverage, South Dakota ranked 34th among the 50 states, behind first-place Massachusetts at 3.3 percent and ahead of last-place Texas at 19.1 percent. The national rate for those under 65 was 10.9 percent in 2015, down from 17.7 percent in 2010.
For those under 18, South Dakota ranked 40th at 6.7 percent, increasing one percentage point from 2014. The national rate was 4.8 percent in 2015, down from 9.9 percent in 2008. Vermont ranked first in this category at 1.0 percent in 2015. Alaska was last, at 10.6 percent.
South Dakotans between the ages of 25 and 34 were almost twice as likely to be without health insurance, as their rate for being uninsured was almost 20 percent. They fared better than the poor, as South Dakotans living below poverty had a 26.5 percent rate of being uninsured, compared to 9.7 percent rate for those living above poverty.
The rates of uninsured varied significantly between the state's two primary metropolitan areas. The rate of people without health insurance in the Rapid City metro area was close to double that of the Sioux Falls metro area in 2015.
The Rapid City metro area—Pennington, Meade and Custer counties—posted a rate of 15.1 percent in 2015 for those under 65, compared to 8.7 percent in the Sioux Falls metro area—Minnehaha, Lincoln, McCook and Turner counties.
The rates of uninsured increased in both the Rapid City and Sioux Falls metro areas. The Rapid City metro rate increased nearly two percent from 13.2 percent in 2014 to 15.1 percent in 2015; the Sioux Falls metro area increased to 8.7 percent in 2015 from 7.3 percent in 2014; and the state rate is up slightly to 12.0 percent from 11.4 percent in 2014.
It's important to note that healthcare provided by the federal Indian Health Service is not counted as health insurance by the U.S. Census Bureau, the agency that collected the data. Residents of the city of Rapid City are 12.4 percent Native American, according to the U.S. Census, although a University of South Dakota researcher believes the true population is likely double that percentage. At the same time, Minnehaha County -- home to Sioux Falls -- records a Native American population at less than 3 percent. Other counties in the Sioux Falls metro area record Native American populations at less than 1 percent, while Meade and Custer counties record populations below 4 percent.