If you’ve lost Medicaid since the pandemic, expansion coverage may be available

October 28, 2023 3:30 pm
(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

You may not recognize my name, but you might recognize my face. Last year at this time, my personal story was featured as part of the campaign to expand health insurance access in South Dakota. I shared how I didn’t have health insurance when I was diagnosed with leukemia at age 26. I encouraged you to vote Yes on Amendment D to expand Medicaid, and thankfully, you listened.

One year later, I am still filled with gratitude for your support. Thanks to this vote, I have assurance that if I’m ever in a position where I can’t work because of a cancer recurrence, I will still be able to get the treatments I need through Medicaid. This lifeline is now available for fellow cancer patients and everyday South Dakotans no matter what life throws at them. 

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I work at a medical clinic and I’ve started nursing school, so I see every day the importance of access to health care. Getting screenings and treating medical conditions are the best way to maintain your health. However, all of the medical advancements in the world don’t matter if you can’t afford to go to the doctor. Having access to affordable, comprehensive health care saves lives. 

Working at the clinic has given me a firsthand look at a notable public health issue. I’ve seen as people come in for an appointment and find out their Medicaid coverage has been terminated because the pandemic protections have ended. Luckily, because Amendment D passed, many people who are no longer eligible for traditional Medicaid have been able to apply for Medicaid expansion. This results in less people losing continuous coverage and possible medical debt. 

Individuals earning below $20,000, or families of four earning below $41,000, are now eligible for Medicaid. If you think you might qualify, you can check out If you don’t have health insurance through your job, or if you can’t afford insurance on the Marketplace, you may be able to learn if you’re eligible. 

This new program is a gamechanger. Take it from me — you want to have access to health care coverage before you need it.  



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Sarah Graves
Sarah Graves

Sarah Rose Graves is a mother, medical assistant and nursing student living in Pierre. A survivor of chronic myeloid leukemia, Sarah volunteers as South Dakota's state lead ambassador with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.