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shop online at www.missourivalleyshopper.com November 7, 2017 • Page 11 Health Insurance Open Enrollment Began Nov. 1 PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Division of Insurance reminds consumers the 2018 Affordable Care Act (ACA) open enrollment began on Nov. 1 for those with individual policies. Open enrollment offers South Dakotans the opportunity to review and/or purchase health insurance coverage from options available in the general market as well as the federally facilitated health care exchange, known as the Marketplace. “The ongoing discussions at the federal level have created uncertainty around healthcare coverage,” said Division Director Larry Deiter. “Consumers are encouraged to gather as much information as possible on the current healthcare environment in order to make the most informed decision possible.” Some important factors to keep in mind for those with individually-purchased health insurance: • The 2018 open enrollment period is only 45 days, running from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15, 2017. Coverage begins Jan. 1, 2018. • Cost sharing reduction (CSR) payment funding has been discontinued, as indicated in a statement issued by the Department of Health and Human Services on Oct. 12. The elimination of this funding may impact existing plan structure or premiums, especially for those with silver level plans where these subsidies to reduce deductibles, copayments and coinsurance for qualified individuals applied. • If you currently have coverage through the Marketplace, you are subject to auto re-enrollment in your same plan or a similar plan if you do not choose a plan for 2018. “Health care insurance plan particulars, premiums and carrier availability change from year to year,” said Deiter. “Consumers are encouraged to review their existing plan to determine if it continues to meet their coverage needs or if they should explore other options available.” A local health insurance agent can provide assistance in identifying any changes in health care needs and discuss plan benefit options available for 2018. Consumers can search for Marketplace certified agents and brokers in their area through the “Find local help” link at healthcare.gov. Consumers should ask questions about any insurance policy they are considering for purchase. The plan being offered may be a type of health insurance, but may not be a comprehensive major medical policy that will provide complete health coverage. Consumers receiving unsolicited contact from anyone attempting to sell health insurance should follow these tips: • Check dlr.sd.gov/insurance for additional information on carriers selling insurance in South Dakota. • Be aware healthcare.gov is the official website for the federal Marketplace. The site has information on the ACA, qualified health plans and comparisons of Marketplace plans available in 2018. Be cautious of other similar sounding names or websites. • The federal government and Marketplace will not call selling health insur- ance. • No one offering comprehensive health care coverage will ask about preexisting conditions. • Do not provide Social Security numbers, bank account details or health information. If you are pressured to provide this information, hang up. • Never agree to any request to send money, especially if presented over the phone. • Ask for written information about the policy, including premiums. Get the facts up front, before buying, in order to understand what the policy will and will not do. Two health insurance carriers, Avera Health Plan and Sanford Health Plan, were approved by the Division to sell individual comprehensive health policies during the 2018 open enrollment. Any other company offering health coverage is not approved to sell comprehensive coverage in South Dakota. Questions or concerns can be directed to the South Dakota Division of Insurance at 605-773-3563 or insurance@state.sd.us. SD National Guard Provides Domestic Operations Support RAPID CITY, S.D. - The South Dakota National Guard continued to provide domestic operations support to the citizens of South Dakota and the nation throughout 2017. Soldiers and Airmen responded to a variety of missions at the state and federal level that supported civil authorities, emergency management personnel and law enforcement agencies. "In times of need, South Dakota National Guard forces provide response and recovery assistance to federal, state and local governments," said Lt. Col. Jim Selchert, director of military support to civil authorities. "Civil authorities understand the unique capabilities of the National Guard when additional assets are needed in an emergency or natural disaster." Located in 22 communities across the state, the SDNG has more than 4,100 service members that can provide overwhelming capability and capacity to the governor before and after disasters strike. In 2017, Guard members were called up by Gov. Dennis Daugaard to support 11 state active duty missions that involved 90 personnel and totaled over 300 man-days. The majority of the response involved wildland fire support providing aerial water suppression assistance using HH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crews and ground support personnel. The Army Guard responded to eight fires throughout the Black Hills and western South Dakota from March through September. "Helicopter flight crews certify annually with the South Dakota Wildland Fire Division in order to provide assistance when wildland fires develop," said Selchert. "The crews conduct water-bucket drops to aid firefighters on the ground by cooling off hot spots, save structures and help get some containment on the fire." When not dropping water, flight crews are also picking up people in need. One crew assisted in the rescue of a male hiker who was injured on Black Elk Peak and airlifted from Custer State Park on April 13. The man was found near high rock formations by Custer County Search and Rescue personnel about twothirds of the way up the 7,200-foot peak in rough terrain. The man was airlifted to Rapid City Regional Hospital for treatment. "Our aviation assets also provide a unique hoist capability to be able to safely remove personnel from difficult or hard to reach areas," said Selchert. "Our crews train every year with interagency partners for these scenarios." Job Hunting? The Help Wanted section can help. There’s something for everyone in the Shopper! Another team training and ready to support a variety of local and state agencies in 2017 was the 82nd Civil Support Team. Deployable within 90 minutes, the 22-member unit conducted numerous exercises this past year to maintain their preparedness level for responding to chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear threats. "We train constantly. Every month we do exercises. Sometimes we do a couple exercises in one week," said Lt. Col. Dale Gadbois, CST commander. "We have to constantly hone our skills because we have so much specialized equipment and we need to be on top of our training, and these exercises definitely afford us the ability to sustain our operations." The unit uses high-tech equipment for substance detection and has an array of testing, laboratory and communications gear to help identify natural or manmade hazardous materials. As the state's all-hazards response team, the 82nd serves as subject matter experts on any CBRN event and supports civil authorities in major disasters and help emergency management personnel get a clear picture of what's happening and how to address it. "It's very critical that we work with agencies in the local area, because as the Civil Support Team we typically work for an incident commander from a civilian-led agency, whether it be a fire department or law enforcement - and working with them and establishing relationships is going to pay dividends in the end when it comes to a real-world emergency or response. "By building relationships with first responders, law enforcement, fire departments and hazmat teams, we are able to interoperate, communicate and understand each other's capabilities and how we can complement each other during a response," said Gadbois. While the CST was training to protect against CBRN dangers, a new team was activated this year to respond to cyber threats. In June, an activation ceremony was held for the newest SDNG unit; Detachment 2, Cyber Protection Team 174. CPTs are part of the National Guard Bureau's ongoing growth of cyber forces throughout the Department of Defense. 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Daugaard activated four members of Company A, 139th Brigade Support Battalion, at the request of Puerto Rico government authorities to help with recovery operations and provide water distribution capabilities to those in need. On Oct. 8, the Soldiers deployed with two Load Handling System vehicles and trailers equipped with four Compatible Water Tank Racks, or "Hippos." The Hippo has the capability to receive, store and distribute up to 2,000 gallons of potable water per system. Whether responding to natural disasters or preparing to defend against cyberattacks, on any given day, SDNG Airmen and Soldiers are ready to provide assistance. "The National Guard is the military first responder for our communities, state and nation and the primary domestic response option for the Department of Defense," Selchert said. "We stand trained and prepared to assist civil authorities in protecting lives and property." 1 6 4 9 5 2 9 4 5 3 7 1 9 5 7 3 4 6 8 2
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