Health Coverage for Farmers: What Are Your Options?
As households across the U.S. enter what’s commonly referred to as open enrollment season for healthcare, now is a great time to sit down and explore your options for you and your family.
Finding affordable health coverage can be challenging when you’re a farmer. If you’re under age 65, you’ve historically had to either secure coverage through an employer (if you or your spouse work off the farm and can obtain employer-sponsored insurance), purchase private insurance or, more recently, pay for coverage through the federal government’s Health Insurance Marketplace.
[Need affordable health coverage for your operation? Apply for coverage through FBN® Health]
What are the coverage options for farmers?
Let’s take a closer look at the primary options you have for health coverage:
We offer four affordably-priced plans through FBN Health that deliver excellent coverage with a nationwide provider network and virtual care options to meet your family’s healthcare needs.
In order to qualify for our level-funded group plan, you need one full-time employee (can be the farm owner) and a Federal Employer Identification Number (different from your social security number, an FEIN is for your farm operation). All of our plans include enhanced ambulance coverage and $0 copays on telemedicine visits.
FBN Health policies are individually underwritten -- meaning your premiums will account for your health and the health of other members in your operation alone.
Note: You don’t need to be a member of the FBN network to apply and obtain a quote, but in order to secure coverage you will need to join the network. We also offer open enrollment year-round.
Association Health Plans
It’s also possible you can obtain a group insurance plan through membership in your local farm bureau or association.
With association health plans, you cannot be denied coverage or pay a higher premium based on your health status or pre-existing conditions.
Your premiums will be affected, however, by the overall health needs of other insured members in your association’s group plan.
If you or your spouse work off the farm, you might be able to sign up for individual/family insurance through the employer’s group plan.
Your premiums will depend on the amount the employer contributes, but these employer-sponsored plans can be a great source of savings for your household.
Health Insurance Marketplace (healthcare.gov)
If you’re not eligible for employer-based insurance, you can sign up for individual/family coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace by provision of the Affordable Care Act.
These on-exchange plans generally cost more, although you may qualify for a tax credit to reduce your monthly premium. Your insurance carrier and plan options will vary based on which state you live in.
In the past, many farmers found themselves with few options other than to purchase off-exchange coverage directly from a private insurance carrier (or through a broker).
Without tax credits or employer contributions, this option can be costly for farmers -- either in terms of monthly premiums or high deductible levels, or both.
Understand your costs before you sign up
You will want to read a plan’s summary of benefits to understand all the out-of-pocket costs you can expect when obtaining care. Here’s a quick breakdown of costs associated with most plans:
Premium: A plan’s monthly premium is the amount you will pay to maintain coverage for yourself and any other dependents on your plan.
Deductible: Your deductible is the amount you’ll pay for care before your carrier pays a larger portion of your bills. Office visit and prescription copayments are not generally applied to your deductible.
Copayments: Your copayment (or copay) refers to the amount you will owe for an office visit or prescription refill. These costs are usually tiered (in-network vs. out-of-network, appointment/urgent care/emergency room, branded vs. generic Rx, etc.).
Coinsurance: Coinsurance is the percentage of responsibility you will have once your deductible has been met. For example, an 80/20 coinsurance level means you will be responsible for 20 percent (your carrier pays the remaining 80 percent) of the amount billed after reaching your plan’s deductible limit.
Out-of-Pocket Maximum: Your out-of-pocket maximum refers to the most you will have to pay for health care costs during the plan year before your carrier will pay 100 percent of all future costs.
You need to consider expected healthcare needs alongside possible emergencies, surgeries and other unpredictable medical concerns or complications when exploring your coverage options.
By factoring these costs into your budget, you’ll be better equipped to manage expenses when healthcare needs arise.
See your coverage options through FBN Health
It takes less than 30 minutes to complete our online application and receive a free quote from our insurance broker—no FBN membership required. See if FBN Health can lower your healthcare costs and live with greater peace of mind.
FBN does not offer traditional health insurance. But while we do not offer traditional health insurance, we do offer FBN Health. FBN Health is marketed by FBN Insurance LLC. FBN Insurance LLC is not a licensed insurance company or agency and its employees and representatives are not licensed life and health insurance agents. Policies marketed by FBN Health are level-funded group health benefit plans offered and administered by Benefit Plan Administrators, Inc. (“BPA”) and Employers Business Alliance ("EBA") and available only where BPA and EBA are licensed." If you submit the Get A Quote Form, a licensed insurance agent/producer may contact you on behalf of BPA or EBA. You cannot obtain coverage under a health plan until you complete and submit an application for the plan and your application is approved and accepted by BPA or EBA. Eligibility and benefit exclusions and limitations apply.
FBN Health is currently available in all 50 states.