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Association Health Care Plan Lowers Cost to Farmers and Ranchers

Podcast / Newsline February 14, 2019

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The Nebraska Farm Bureau’s association health plan is helping ease the burden of health care costs on farmers and ranchers. Micheal Clements has more.

Clements: Nebraska Farm Bureau Chief Administrator Rob Robertson told the House Ways and Means Committee during hearing testimony that farm and ranch families are struggling to find affordable health insurance. Robertson says that’s why the Nebraska Farm Bureau created an association health plan.

Robertson: An association health plan is simply a way to group a lot of individuals or small groups into one large health insurance pool. The idea is a large pool then can reduce costs in terms of the premium. That’s what we did in Nebraska Farm Bureau and our farmer, rancher, agribusiness members are eligible and therefore their costs are lower on the health insurance premium market.

Clements: The plan covers pre-existing conditions and is compliant with the Affordable Care Act. He told the committee health insurance costs were among the top concerns raised by Nebraska farmers and ranchers in 2018.

Robertson: That was the story we told on Capitol Hill. Farmers and ranchers would get up in tears at meetings talking about their costs of health care, the fact that they have to work off the farm to get health insurance, and we just saw the need to help and serve farmers and ranchers because of that steep cost and hardship. So, we created the association health plan and it was able, first year out, to reduce by thousands of dollars the costs of health insurance premiums.

Clements: Robertson says farmers and ranchers have been impacted the most by rising costs stemming from the Affordable Care Act.

Robertson: I can’t think of any other occupation or sector in the economy that’s affected more than farmers and ranchers with these high health insurance premiums, and I think the more we can group them up in a large group association health plan, the better.

Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.

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