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Published on November 19, 2015


Avera Health and DAKOTACARE have signed a letter of intent through which Avera Health will purchase DAKOTACARE.

With its ownership of Avera Health Plans and DAKOTACARE, Avera will become the second largest health insurer in South Dakota, serving nearly 200,000 members.

“Avera has the highest respect for DAKOTACARE, its owners, and especially the physician relationships they have built over the past three decades,” said Rob Bates, Senior Vice President of Avera Health. “Avera and DAKOTACARE have shared values and a shared focus on meeting the needs of South Dakota residents, employer groups and physicians.”

“Only in South Dakota could you have people come together this fast, to see beyond themselves and make decisions for the greater good of our state,” said Kevin Bjordahl, MD, DAKOTACARE Board Chair. “Both organizations share a management philosophy that strives to provide customers with valuable insurance solutions and offer the highest quality of service.”

Avera has been in the health insurance industry since 1999 with Avera Health Plans. As a mission-based organization, Avera supports all South Dakotans having access to affordable high quality health care coverage.

Avera will operate Avera Health plans and DAKOTACARE as two separate organizations. “We are concerned first and foremost for the people we serve,” said Bates. “Avera is committed to maintaining the DAKOTACARE brand, the broad network of providers and the positive relationships with the more than 400 insurance agents across the state.” DAKOTACARE’s provider network includes 100 percent of South Dakota’s hospitals and more than 98 percent of the state’s physicians and pharmacies.

Avera now has the unique opportunity to serve the needs of South Dakotans with both a choice provider network through DAKOTACARE and a value network plan through Avera Health Plans. This announcement comes at a time when Avera Health Plans leads the individual health insurance Marketplace and looks forward to further growth in 2016 and beyond. In addition, Avera is building modern facilities and enhancing specialized care offerings, and increasing its telehealth footprint.

Pictured are Rob Bates, left, and Dr. Kevin Bjordahl

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