SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Medicaid coverage is now available for an additional 52,000 South Dakotans. 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced South Dakota was the 39th state, along with Washington D.C., to adopt the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion program. In November, South Dakota voters approved Medicaid expansion through Amendment D (56%-44%). 

“Tens of thousands of South Dakotans now have an opportunity to obtain health care coverage, and the peace of mind it provides, as a result of Medicaid expansion,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a news release. “The comprehensive health insurance that Medicaid provides can be life changing for American families.”

South Dakota’s Department of Social Services oversees the state’s Medicaid program. DSS estimated 52,000 South Dakotans would be eligible once the program went into effect July 1. 

In May, there were 131,627 people eligible for Medicaid medical services, according to data from DSS

People who are age 19 but not yet 65 and have an income up to 138% of the Federal Poverty Limit can apply for Medicaid, which is the federal and state health insurance program. For example, a single person making less than $20,000 or a family of four making less than $41,000 would now be eligible for Medicaid.  

DSS uses a chart on maximum gross monthly income per household size. One person can’t make more than $1,677 in gross income a month. DSS says applicants will receive a letter in the mail telling them if they are eligible or not within 45 days of applying. 

DSS points to three ways to apply for Medicaid – online, print and mail an application or visit a local office. DSS has offices in 42 South Dakota communities

A news release from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services says Medicaid benefits include access to primary, preventive and emergency care as well as substance abuse treatment and prescription drug benefits.

During a news conference a month ago, Dr. Jennifer Tinguely said 50% of the patients served at Falls Community Health are uninsured. Tinguely, the Chief Medical Officer at Falls Community Health, said she knows more patients will now have health insurance through Medicaid expansion.