Young adults and South Dakotans living below the poverty line were the most likely to be without health insurance in 2014, although the uninsured rate has dropped in recent years as the federal Affordable Care Act has required more people to purchase health insurance, according to recently updated federal data.
The state's overall uninsured rate was 11.4 percent in 2014, down from a recent high of 15.1 percent in 2009.
For health insurance coverage, South Dakota ranked 22nd among the 50 states, behind first-place Massechusetts at 3.8 percent and ahead of last-place Texas at 21.3 percent. The national rate for those under 65 was 13.5 percent percent in 2014, down from 17.7 percent in 2010.
For those under 18, South Dakota ranked 33rd at 5.7 percent, down from 8.4 percent in 2008. The national rate was 6 percent in 2014, down from 9.9 percent in 2008. Massachusetts ranked first in this category at 1.5 percent in 2014. Alaska was last, at 11.4 percent.
South Dakotans between the ages of 18 and 34 were almost twice as likely to be without health insurance, as the rate for being uninsured for them was almost 19 percent. They fared better than the poor, as South Dakotans living below poverty had a 26.1 percent rate of being uninsured, compared to a 9 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 2014.
The Rapid City metro area -- Pennington, Meade and Custer counties -- posted a rate of 13.2 percent in 2014 for those under 65, compared to 7.3 percent in the Sioux Falls metro area -- Minnehaha, Lincoln, McCook and Turner counties -- and 11.4 percent for South Dakota as a whole.
The rates of uninsured have dropped in both metro areas and across the state as a whole. The Rapid City metro rate has dropped from a recent high of of 18.2 percent in 2009; the Sioux Falls metro area dropped from a recent high of 11.6 percent in 2009; and the state rate is down from a recent high of 15.1 percent, also in 2009.
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.
The 73,000-or-so South Dakotans buying health insurance on the individual market will experience double-digit premium increases, including those buying through the Affordable Care Act exchange, reports the Associated Press.
The biggest reported hikes are coming in plans that do not participate in the ACA exchange, where purchasers of insurance are eligible for federal subsidies. Dakotacare and Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield are planning premium increases of 63 percent and 43 percent respectively, affecting more than 19,000 policy-holders. Another group of about 36,000 Wellmark customers will experience 15 percent increases.
Industry experts said the increases come after companies signed up populations that were sicker than expected and used high-priced prescription drugs and other healthcare services.
Read more about health insurance coverage on the South Dakota Dashboard.
The home of the Jackrabbits is the nation's safest college town, reports KDLT News. Brookings, home to South Dakota State University, tops the list released by SafeWise, a Utah-based security company.
The company reviewed 2013 FBI crime statistics and weighted those against population. Then, they did an anaylsis of the safety and outreach programs in each community. SafeWise notes:
"SDSU has instituted a Behavioral Intervention Team that addresses potential threats to the community incidental to town-gown relations. And, with an ever-changing population of young people, the Brookings Police Department leads the way in community outreach by featuring initiatives like the LGBT Liaison that foster trust and cooperation with young adults and older community members alike."
Read more about crime in South Dakota from the state Division of Criminal Investigations.
The third installment of Trivia Tuesday is hot off the presses. Impress your friends and coworkers after learning smart-sounding data from our sleek infographics. Further your education by scrolling to the end of the page and clicking the text links to dive deeper into the data at hand. This week’s installment focuses on South Dakota health data.
Hearty Health Facts
Sexually transmitted diseases are spiking in South Dakota, and state health officials say social media is helping to fuel the fire, reports the Pierre Capital Journal.
Social media sites are providing information about parties and where to find sexual partners -- often anonymous -- and that has helped drive chlamydia rates to an all-time high of 4,170 in 2014, a 25 percent jump from 2013. The story is similar for gonorrhea and syphilis, with the state's 95 cases of syphillis the highest since 1970 and the 900 gonorrhea cases up 41 percent and a high since the 1980s, according to a state news release.
Healthcare providers in the city of Sioux Falls are offering free STD testing, reports South Dakota Public Radio.
Find montly and annual reports on infectious diseases online from the South Dakota Department of Health.
Read more about Health on the South Dakota Dashboard.
State health experts say that more than one third of South Dakota’s children are overweight or obese. That’s according to the most recent sampling from schools across the state. The numbers aren’t much worse than the previous year but they also aren’t any better, reports South Dakota Public Radio.
That information comes from a state report that shows height and weight measurements for children across the state. The latest data from the 2013/2014 school year shows 15.8 percent of South Dakota children are obese and another 16.5 percent are overweight. Those numbers are only a fraction of a percentage down from the year before.
The South Dakota Department of Health survey is of students ages 5 to 19 from 175 South Dakota schools. State officials have set a goal to drop the proportion of obese students to 14 percent by 2020.
The Februrary edition of the South Dakota Health and Disease report is now available digitally. This monthly publication includes statistics on oral health, infectious disease, births, and deaths for the state. Statistics highlighted in this issue include a rise in STI and MRSA rates as well as the most South Dakota births in 30 years. Also available from the South Dakota Department of Health are seasonal Influenza surveillance reports.
South Dakota ranks 12th in the country in funding programs that prevent children from smoking and help smokers quit, according to a national report released Thursday by a coalition of public health organizations, reported Northern Plains News Service.
Sister state North Dakota ranks first in the same report, with Wyoming sixth, Minnesota 11th, Montana 14th, Iowa 24th and Nebraska 27th.
The report by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids challenges states to do more by highlighting Florida, which has cut its high school smoking rate to a record low 7.5 percent. The report details the lives and health care dollars each state could save if it brought its teen smoking rate down to Florida's.
If South Dakota reduced its high school smoking rate from the current 16.5 percent to 7.5 percent, it would prevent 28,360 kids from becoming adult smokers, saving 9,810 lives and $496.3 million in future health care costs, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The group says currently in South Dakota, tobacco annually claims 1,300 lives and costs the state $373 million in health care bills.
South Dakotans collectively feel the third highest sense of well-being in the nation, according to Gallup's 2014 State Well-Being Rankings.
Behind No. 1 Alaska and No. 2, Hawaii, the Rushmore State scored well in five essential elements of well-being:
South Dakota ranked No. 1 in the Social and Community categories but fared the poorest in the Physical category, ranking 11th. The state ranked 4th in the Purpose category and 5th in the Financial category.
These state-level data are based on more than 176,000 interviews with U.S. adults across all 50 states, conducted from January to December 2014. Gallup and Healthways have been tracking well-being since 2008. Previous Gallup and Healthways research shows that high well-being closely relates to key health outcomes such as lower rates of healthcare utilization, workplace absenteeism and workplace performance, change in obesity status and new onset disease burden.
As of Jan. 9, 12 South Dakotans had died from the flu this season, and 245 had been hospitalized.
Data released by the state Health Department shows most of the confirmed cases are Influenza A untyped, while a significant percentage are Influenza AH3 and a small percentage are Influenza B.
A map included in the pdf document attached to this post and in the link above shows concentrations of cases in South Dakota's metropolitan areas, although the number of cases per city or county was not included.
The flu has been declared "widespread" across South Dakota, with its severity listed as "moderate."
Find more information and data about the flu online from the South Dakota Department of Health. Find more information about Health in South Dakota on the South Dakota Dashboard.