The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says the uninsured rate in South Dakota has fallen by 18 percent since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was enacted in 2010, with 19,000 South Dakotans gaining coverage during that time.

HHS on Tuesday released an extensive compilation of state-level data illustrating the substantial improvements in health care for Americans over the last six years.

The agency said that in addition to residents who would otherwise be uninsured, hundreds of thousands more South Dakotans insured under employer, Medicaid, individual market or Medicare coverage have benefited from new ACA protections.

HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said millions of Americans have a stake in the future of health reform, and the nation needs to build on the progress to improve health care access, quality and affordability, not move the system backward.

Other highlights from the report:

  • Nearly 450,000 people in South Dakota are covered through employer-sponsored health plans.
  • Before the ACA, 295,000 South Dakotans with employer or individual market coverage had a lifetime limit on their insurance policy. The ACA prohibits such limits.
  • An estimated 6,000 young adults in South Dakota have benefited from the ACA provision that allows kids to stay on their parents’ health insurance up to age 26.
  • Health plans under the ACA must cover preventive services, a provision that benefits nearly 400,000 South Dakotans.
  • The average premium for South Dakota families with employer coverage grew 5.2 percent per year from 2010-2015, compared to 6.4 percent over the previous decade.

The report noted that even more South Dakotans could be covered if the state expanded Medicaid.