Deadline Looms for 20% of Farmers Without Health Insurance

06:00AM Dec 12, 2019
Health Insurance risks
Get A Handle On Health Insurance
( Graphic: Lindsey Benne; Photo: iStock )

In the most recent Farm Journal Pulse, nearly 800 farmers responded to the question “How would you describe your health insurance options.” Of those 800, 20% say they cannot afford health insurance altogether and another 24% say they have an affordable plan, but coverage is minimal/catastrophic only.

The deadline for health insurance enrollment is Dec. 15, 2019. If you do not sign up by this deadline, you will not have insurance in 2020.

Read more about health insurance here:

Insurance Covers $600,000 in Bills After Toddler’s Brush With Death

How Much Does Health Insurance Cost?

Catastrophe Avoided: Health Insurance Protects Farm After Accident

5 Answers to FAQ on Health Insurance Marketplace Enrollment

“A catastrophic coverage plan covers the bare minimum and has a high deductible,” says Shoshanah Inwood, assistant professor of community, food and economic development at The Ohio State University “Keep in mind it will not cover preventative care. Minor health concerns can spiral into major issues if they aren't treated early. While it seems less expensive upfront, it may create bigger bills down the road.”

Three-quarters of farmers recently reported affordable health insurance is a critical way they reduce business risk, according to a study at the Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis at NORC, University of Chicago. About 50% of farmers say they aren’t sure they could pay the cost of illness or injury without going into debt.



Farmer health insurance
Click image for larger view.

When searching health insurance options on the open market, know there are minimum coverages each provider must include. Here are the 10 essential benefits you should expect, according to

  1. Ambulatory patient services
  2. Emergency services
  3. Hospitalization (surgery, overnight stays)
  4. Pregnancy, maternity and newborn care
  5. Mental health and substance use disorder services
  6. Prescription drugs
  7. Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
  8. Laboratory services
  9. Preventative and wellness services as well as chronic disease management
  10. Pediatric services, including oral and vision (adult dental and vision is not required)