INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Farm Bureau has launched a survey for its farming and agribusiness members on the topic of healthcare insurance. Access to affordable health insurance is a commonly mentioned concern for Indiana Farm Bureau members across the state. As small business professionals, many in Indiana’s agriculture industry—whether in production or agribusiness—do not have access to cost-effective health insurance coverage for themselves or for employees.
As part of its effort to respond to these concerns, INFB is asking its members in the agriculture industry to respond to a survey that will help INFB evaluate what member’s need, the best options to address those needs and whether it’s feasible for INFB to offer any sort of healthcare program to its members that would help reduce their healthcare costs.
INFB President Randy Kron said that cost and availability of healthcare insurance is frequently on the minds of members when he travels the state.
“I don’t go to a district or county meeting where someone doesn’t bring the topic up,” said Kron.
Mark Thornburg, INFB director of legal affairs, has been coordinating INFB’s research on the healthcare issue.
That research has involved dozens of meetings with many of the other state Farm Bureaus as well as several different insurance carriers, Thornburg said. “We also used a consultant to help us wade through this complicated arena,” he added.
The main goal, Kron and Thornburg said, has been to see if there are any plans available that will provide members with a better product, a better price or, ideally, both.
But one thing that’s clear, they said, is that there is no single plan that fulfills all of these criteria.
“One size does not fit all,” Kron said.
Other state Farm Bureaus are also grappling with the issue.
“We looked at the programs offered recently by other state Farm Bureaus and found no one clear path,” Thornburg added.
One of the major problems, he said, is that healthcare insurance is in a state of flux due to changes in the Affordable Care Act, Department of Labor rules, legal challenges and other factors. Another issue is that many of the plans that are available are for businesses with a minimum of two employees – there aren’t many that cover the “sole proprietor level,” Thornburg said.
A link to the survey has been emailed to all members who are registered with VoterVoice, INFB’s voter advocacy app, and a print copy of the survey will be made available to INFB farmer and agribusiness members via the September issue of The Hoosier Farmer, INFB’s monthly member-only publication.
The survey deadline is Friday, Sept. 27. However members choose to respond, their answers will be kept confidential.
— Indiana Farm Bureau
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