Health


Nov. 14, 2022

by FBN Network

Let’s face it, health insurance can be confusing. Answering these five questions will help you get started on making your decision. While it’s important to do your own research, be sure to reach out to an insurance agent you trust with specific questions for your unique situation. 1. How much will it cost? This is the first thing most people want to know when shopping for health coverage. Depending on the type of plan you are looking at, the costs can vary dramatically. For example, plans that are medically underwritten like the ones FBN® Health offers, have rates that are based on factors such as age, general health and gender. Other, more traditional offerings may have a flat rate based on age and state. It is important to look at more than just the price when determining which plan is right for you. Make sure you are looking at the total costs including premium (what you pay each month/year), deductibles, copays and out-of-pocket maximum amounts. 2. What are my options if I have a pre-existing condition? Depending on what your pre-existing conditions are you could potentially be limited in your plan options. Plans through Healthcare.gov are not allowed to exclude your participation for pre-existing conditions. Other offerings, such as those that are medically underwritten may exclude certain pre-existing conditions. If you question whether or not you may be denied coverage, be sure to ask your licensed health agent what options may be available to you. 3. How can I find out if my provider is in the network? It is important to do your research before enrolling in a new health plan. Part of that research should include reviewing the plan’s provider network. Check the plan’s website or ask your agent to verify ahead of time that providers and facilities you need are considered to be in network. 4. Are dental and vision included with my health plan?  In most cases, these items will be separate. Make sure you ask your agent during your research if they are included or not. Never assume additional coverage is included without verifying through your agent and your plan paperwork. 5. Are my prescriptions covered?  Prescription drug coverage is an important part of your health plan. Just like with providers, make sure you do your research to verify that necessary drugs are included in your plan. You should be able to request a copy of your plan’s formulary, or list of covered drugs,  if you have specific questions.  Still have questions? If you have questions regarding health coverage for your farm, reach out to FBN Health at 877-892-3303 to talk to one of our experts or visit fbn.com/insurance/health-insurance to get a custom quote. 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.


Nov. 04, 2022

by Mark Wilson

Jodi Baetsle, FBN® Health program manager, asks health broker Jeanie Cunningham the questions you need answered in order to decide if coverage through FBN Health is right for you, your family and your employees.  [ Ready to Apply? Visit https://fbn.com/insurance/health-insurance and click “Get a Quote.”] What You’ll Learn in This Webinar: What kind of plans are available? What makes FBN Health different? Do I need to change my doctor if I get coverage through FBN Health? What’s new for 2023? How can FBN Health help keep costs down for farmers? How do I apply? Watch Now Ready to Apply? Visit FBN Health and click “Get a Quote.” Still have questions? Call (877) 892-3303 to speak directly with a broker. 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”) that are available only where BPA is licensed. If you submit the Get A Quote Form, a licensed insurance agent/producer may contact you on behalf of BPA. 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. Eligibility and benefit exclusions and limitations apply. FBN Health is currently available in all 50 states.


Sep. 20, 2022

by Heather Stone

Farmers face many hazards and opportunities to reduce risk on their farm, especially during harvest. Sometimes when we take a risk, we think the “stories” we hear won’t happen to us. I’d like to challenge you to think about whether you know of people, families, or communities impacted by losing a loved one on the farm.  Around this time last year my father-in-law told me about a man that had died in an accident on his farm. My father-in-law told me the man was well liked at his company and in his farming community.  He entered a silo to make a repair and subsequently was found dead, submerged in grain.  Plan for a Safe Harvest  Farming takes a great deal of planning, forecasting, research and hard work in order to maximize potential profit. Farming safely requires even more effort but the outcome is significantly different; “maximizing potential” means you go home unharmed to your family each day. Below are some areas to focus on while you develop your plan for harvest. 1. Grain bins and silos Are confined spaces with hazards that can change in the blink of an eye. Don’t work alone if you must enter them, use the buddy system. Recognize and discuss the hazards prior to performing the job. Plan for the hazards that you know are present such as:  Suffocation from engulfment or entrapment Explosions due to high amounts of grain dust Falls from heights Crushing and amputation from grain equipment  2. Equipment Should be made harvest ready at least several weeks before harvest or during the off-season. Review operation manuals and follow the manufacturer's guidelines.   Never overlook safety labels because oftentimes they bring attention to hidden hazards such as energized areas, moving parts, or pinch points. Do not modify equipment. Are all the machine guarding and shields in place?  If not, why not?   Powered-take off (PTO) injuries are common on the farm,  according to the National Agricultural Safety Database (NASD), shielding is absent or damaged in 70% of the injuries . Farm workers should wear well-fitted clothing to prevent entanglement in farming equipment.  3. Overhead power-lines  Can be dangerous when working with tall equipment. Do you and your farm workers know where your overhead power-lines are? You should check for changes and sagging that may have occurred during the off-season. You can ask local utility companies to help determine the height of overhead lines on your farm.   Many types of farm equipment have risks of contacting overhead lines such as tractors with front end loaders, equipment with antennas, portable grain-augers, etc. NASD recommends if your equipment contacts an overhead like stay put and call for help.  If there is an emergency, jump as far away from the equipment as possible. Never allow any body part to touch the equipment and the ground at the same time. Do not get back on the equipment until the utility company has removed the hazard.  4. Corn pickers, combines, tractors Are big machines with lots of moving parts. Do you know what types of equipment can cause serious injuries on your farm?  If corn pickers and combines are clogged, train farm workers to turn the equipment off, ensure it's fully stopped, then attempt to free debris.   Inform workers of pinch points where clothing, fingers, and legs can get caught. Always use the handrails to mount and dismount the equipment. Keep the steps free of dirt to avoid slips and falls. Do you have wells, equipment, gates, above ground pipelines, etc. marked to ensure safe turning of your equipment?  Tractor accidents in farming tend to lead to serious if not fatal injuries. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) , “An operator's chance of surviving a tractor turnover without a serious injury is good if the tractor has a roll-over protective structure (ROPS) and the operator is wearing a seat belt.”   5. Agricultural equipment on public roads  Have Federal and State regulations. You must know the specific regulations you are required to meet for lighting and marking prior to getting on public roads. New agricultural equipment that will be operated on a public road must meet standards set forth in ANSI/ASAE 279.14 JUL2008 “ Lighting and Marking of Agricultural Equipment on Highways .”   Some additional things to plan for prior to getting farm equipment on roads are:    Can the equipment be moved on public roads during daylight hours to avoid driving in the dark?  Do you know the towing capacity of your equipment, correct hitches and chaining?  Weight and towing affects speed. Have you communicated that with all drivers?  Plan and discuss dual brake pedals, climbing and descending hills, lane usage, etc. Don’t assume that your workers know how to safely drive on public roads. 6. Feeling tired Stop and take a break.  If you're not getting enough sleep it can become a safety hazard. When you're tired your reaction time is slower, you can have trouble remembering things, and are at risk of falling asleep on the job. Several studies show lack of sleep and being tired can be compared to being drunk. NIOSH posted a study that states b eing awake for 17 hours is similar to having a blood alcohol content of 0.05%. 7. Hydration and good nutrition Is vital to keep yourself healthy during harvest. Eating small snacks, not skipping meals, and staying hydrated is important. Implementing these habits during harvest will provide continuous energy to cope with busy, stressful, and long workdays. Don’t forget your sleep! 8. Additional safety topics to consider for harvest  Adequate lighting during pre-dawn and after dusk activities.  Temperatures still get high during Fall months. Plan to bring enough water for the day, even though the mornings may be cooler. Have a plan for equipment breakdowns and maintenance.  If you are working alone, always be sure someone knows where you will be during the day.  Have a plan if you are injured or equipment breaks down. Have personal protective equipment purchased and ready. For example, respirators that meet NIOSH N95 requirements to prevent inhalation of grain dust. Clear debris from roads on your farm. Check your roads for potholes and ruts that can unbalance heavy equipment.  Make sure there is supervision for children during this busy time. Stay safe this harvest. You are someone’s child, parent, or grandparent. No job is so important and so urgent it can’t be done safely.  Learn more about FBN® Health Staying safe on the farm is vital for you, your family and your employees. And staying healthy is just as important. Whether you’re looking for a new health insurance plan or looking to save money, FBN Health may be able to help. Learn more about what FBN Health has to offer. Additional resources 10 Harvest Safety Tips to prevent Accidents on the Farm  Grain Bin Safety  Guarding Against Corn Harvesting Accidents  9 Tips for Keeping Yourself Healthy during Harvest  Copyright © 2014 - 2022 Farmer's Business Network, Inc. All rights Reserved. The sprout logo, “Farmers Business Network”, “FBN”, "Farmers First" and “FBN Direct” are trademarks or registered trademarks of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. 


Sep. 19, 2022

by FBN Network

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] We launched FBN Health in response to this challenge, offering affordable coverage options and bringing a Farmers First approach to your healthcare needs. What are the coverage options for farmers? Let’s take a closer look at the primary options you have for health coverage:  FBN Health 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. Employer-based Insurance 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. Private Insurance 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 Learn more about  FBN  Health Insurance  and get a free quote, compare plans and see how much you can potentially save by signing up for coverage through FBN Health. 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.


Aug. 08, 2022

by Heather Stone

Farmers like you have a lot to think about everyday. Weather, crop yield, market prices, chemical usage and government policies are all elements you have to plan for and consider in your operations.  While thinking about your livelihood and the uncertainties that can affect profitability, safety risks are often deprioritized. Statistically, farming is one of the most hazardous occupations. According to the National Institute of Safety and Health (NIOSH)” in 2019, 410 farmers and farm workers died from a work-related injury, resulting in a fatality rate of 19.4 deaths per 100,000 workers.” Ultimately, injuries and illnesses have the potential to harm colleagues and family members you work alongside. These injuries also have the potential to result in major costs to your farm's bottom line. Insurance is an operating cost that you likely see every month on your balance sheet.  Crop insurance, workers compensation insurance, livestock insurance and health insurance for your family are all examples. Insurance premiums typically rise with the frequency and cost of claims.  Even a minor accident can involve time, money, people and resources which can impact current and future operations. Create a strong safety culture on your farm You have a huge responsibility as a farmer to ensure the safety of your operation, whether it’s you and a few seasonal workers or a larger scale operation.Your workers place their safety and health in your hands. Your leadership and the culture you create on your farm will help ensure your team goes home safely to their family each evening.  Here are a few simple steps you can take to build a strong safety culture on on your farm, while also reducing costs to your bottom line: 1. Start each day with a safety moment Talk to your employees about the tasks that will be performed during the day, review the risks involved and discuss what steps will be taken to reduce those risks. Encourage each employee to speak up and share stories and ideas. Talking about safety to start the work day only takes a few moments, but sends a message about how much you prioritize safety.  2. Encourage employees to speak up Are safety concerns openly discussed on your farm? Are workers encouraged to speak up without fear of punishment, ridicule or dismissal? The more employees are encouraged to speak up, the more opportunities you will have to identify an issue before it becomes an accident. 3. Focus on the cause, not the person Often when an incident occurs we are quick to blame. The truth is, people do make mistakes, but it’s not intentional. Most mistakes happen because we didn’t set the employee up for success. Was the training adequate? Was the workload acceptable? Were there other stresses (e.g. weather, time of day, etc.) that contributed to the accident? By focusing on what caused the individual to fail, you can make improvements that will drive success. 4. Make safety part of everyone’s job The National Agricultural Tractor Safety initiative reports, “ Tractors cause about 130 deaths annually ”  Equipment and facilities on the farm should be inspected regularly. Get your team involved in these inspections and coach them on the hazards they should be looking for. From a wasp nest in an overhang to a pinch point on a sprayer, the more they look for hazards, the greater the chance they can avoid — or eliminate — them. 5. Recognize good behaviors Your employees look up to you and model your behaviors. If an employee is taking a few minutes to get a sip of water on a hot day, use it as a chance to thank them for staying hydrated. If an employee is wearing chemical gloves while pouring a pesticide, call out that good behavior. Most importantly, recognize employees who are willing to speak up and bring safety concerns or ideas forward. Never underestimate the power of a “thank you.” You never know when a suggestion may save a life on your farm.  Everyone can be a leader when it comes to safety. It only takes a few small actions, good or bad, to impact the safety culture on your farm. Creating a culture of caring on your farm ensures all employees are looking out for themselves and each other to ensure the work gets done… safely. It also helps you rest better at night knowing your team is home safe with their families and will be ready for work the next day. Additional resources 11 Tips for Farm Safety 5 ways to be proactive about farm safety  Safety on the Farm: Prepare. Prevent. Protect Copyright © 2014 - 2022 Farmer's Business Network, Inc. All rights Reserved. The sprout logo, “Farmers Business Network”, “FBN”, "Farmers First" and “FBN Direct” are trademarks or registered trademarks of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. 


Aug. 08, 2022

by Lucas Strom

When FBN® members told us that they need better healthcare options for their families and farm employees, we listened. In 2018, we launched FBN Health to bring farmers more choice around their healthcare options with plans that are designed for them—straightforward, affordable and reliable health benefits with best-in-class service when you need it most. Farming is a tough business. One of the greatest potential risks you manage is your own health and personal wellness, as well as that of your family and employees—but you don’t have to do it alone. We’ve tailored health benefits plans to meet FBN members’ needs with a farmer-focused healthcare coverage offering, which includes enhanced ambulance coverage. Healthcare designed for farm operations You need the freedom to choose from a range of healthcare coverage options that meet your farm’s specific needs. We have four different plans that offer you: Health coverage for your family and your farm employees: Medical, dental and vision Free, 24/7 telephone access to a doctor—at $0 co-pay—so you don’t have to waste any time driving to town when you have a medical question or need Extensive regional and national networks of providers based across the country Affordable health benefits for farming businesses You don’t have to settle for the rising cost of health coverage. By leveraging the purchasing power of the FBN network, we are working to lower health insurance premiums and pass those savings straight on to you. In many cases, we expect eligible FBN members will see significant premium savings over the individual marketplace. The plans offered through FBN Health are level-funded plans which are fully underwritten, allowing them to provide much lower rates for relatively healthy members of your family or farm employees. Between our unique approach and the power of the FBN network, members may see 25-35 percent savings under the right circumstances. Simple to choose and easy to use You deserve hassle-free health insurance. Lower-cost healthcare options should also be convenient to access and use when you need them, and come with hassle-free support. You shouldn’t have to spend valuable time re-learning the ever-changing landscape of the healthcare industry, benefits options and network providers—through our partnership, we’re making the enrollment and selection process easy, and the benefits service you receive after the sale outstanding. How to participate in FBN Health Farms with as few as one employee who have a Federal ID Number (FEIN) are eligible to apply.  The online application takes about 30 minutes to complete and can be found at FBNHealth.com . Our team is staffed by licensed health insurance experts to help you make the right coverage decisions for your family and operation. We will walk you through the application and enrollment process and be there to answer any claims questions throughout the year. Where is FBN Health Offered? FBN Health is available in all 50 states. Are you unhappy with your healthcare coverage?  Does your family farm have the best option for health insurance?  Call 877-892-3303 or visit FBNHealth.com to apply. 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.


Jun. 15, 2022

by Heather Stone

Farming is a dangerous profession. It’s a high risk environment for children, young people and adults. While farms are both your workplace and your home, the thought of a child or young person getting injured or worse is unfathomable.  That’s why it’s important to be proactive about safety on the farm. Whether they’re children or young people, it’s important to keep all members of your family safe. But how do you get started?  Here are 9 things to think about to keep your children and family safe on the farm: 1. What supervision protocols are in place? When farming activities are taking place, who’s keeping an eye on the kids to ensure that they’re out of harm’s way? And at what age should supervision change? This will depend on the child and their understanding of the potential dangers of farming. As an adult and parent, your child’s safety is probably already top of mind.    2. Storing chemicals safely Are chemicals easily accessible on your farm? If so, what precautions can you take to ensure dangerous and hazardous chemicals are stored safely from children? An example of storage ideas can range from fire rated hazmat storage (typically for flammable and hazardous chemicals) to chemical storage cabinets. Make sure whatever you use can be locked up and securely stored. There are stringent U.S. state requirements and age limits for handling certain classes and types of chemicals and pesticides. Additional resources for Canadian and Australian farmers are listed at the bottom of this post. 3. Ride alongs Are ride-alongs ever safe? And at what age should you think about starting to have your child ride along on equipment and tractors? This answer may change depending upon the type, make, model and age of the equipment. Should a tractor with no roll over protection be treated differently than one with it?  Don’t get complacent with a newer tractor.  Does it have enough seatbelts? Can a child fall out of the door if you hit a bump? 4. Farming equipment When should children be given access to farming equipment? What type of training has been provided to the child? Are there other safer activities? If it’s for work on the farm in the U.S. make sure to check Federal and State child labor laws for agriculture. 5. Confined spaces What is a confined space and how can children be made aware of their danger? What are the existing  confined spaces on your farm? Some common confined spaces in farming are: grain bins, silos, vats, underground tunnels and wells, water tanks, manure pits, etc.  6. Buildings and structures Are children aware of the dangers of barns and grain elevators? When is it safe for kids to climb buildings and structures? For more information on the exemptions and fall protection regulations for farms in the U.S. review the Occupational Safety and Health Administration presentation Fall Prevention in Agriculture . 7. Sources of water Are there ponds, rivers, retention ponds, water tanks, springs, wells, etc. on your farm? Can everyone on the farm swim? If some swimmers are stronger than others, are appropriate safety devices available for those who are not as strong or confident? Discuss water safety with your children and specific examples of when and where they are not allowed to swim on the farm and the importance of having someone else around; i.e. having a buddy system for safety purposes.  8. Farm animals How do you keep kids safe around farm animals? What animals are more dangerous than others? Understand that farm animals are unpredictable and everyone should always be aware of the size and dangers of these animals.  9. Other hazards Other hazards to be aware of on your farm include: Overhead power lines Electricity sources Portable grain augers Moving equipment Power take-off shafts  Uncovered grain dust Keeping your family and kids safe is a personal, regulated, and sensitive topic. Opinions will definitely vary and that’s okay. Depending on where you live, country and state laws may vary. Safety awareness of the dangers of farming is an important step to prevent injuries.  Make it a priority to keep your kids safe by talking to them and having discussions about farm safety.  Additional resources for family farmer safety USA Youth in Agriculture eTool National Ag Safety database  NIOSH Agricultural Injury Prevention Canada Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA)  for kids Australia Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety Child Safety on Farms  Copyright © 2014 - 2022 Farmer's Business Network, Inc. All rights Reserved. The sprout logo, “Farmers Business Network”, “FBN”, "Farmers First" and “FBN Direct” are trademarks or registered trademarks of Farmer's Business Network, Inc. 


Nov. 24, 2020

by Sarah Bieber

Over the past few years, one of the biggest financial issues farmers have had to contend with is affordable healthcare. Rachael Vonderhaar can tell you from personal experience. Rachael is part of a multi-generational farming operation in Southwest Ohio, an hour north of Cincinnati and just off the Indiana state line.  The Vonderhaar family looks like a lot of other Midwestern farmers: They grow corn, beans and wheat and run a cow-calf operation. She farms with her husband, Alan; her son, Adam; and her father-in-law, Leonard, who still helps out with planting and harvest. “Just before the 2016 election, we got a notice that we were losing our healthcare plan,” Rachael says. “All the private insurers were pulling out of our county, and our broker was very kind about it, but he told us there was nothing available to us.” On December 31, 2016, a plan for which they qualified showed up on the exchange — but “qualifying” still meant paying full price.  After a year on this plan, one insurer returned to their county, offering more services for the price, but still, charging more than $2,000 a month for a high deductible plan. “It was mind-blowing to us,” Rachael says. In 2019, while attending the Commodity Classic, Rachael heard about what Farmers Business Network ® had to offer. All the services offered as a part of the FBN ® membership were intriguing, but the opportunities for a better health plan sealed the deal. [GET A FREE QUOTE AND COMPARE PLANS. APPLY FOR COVERAGE THROUGH FBN® HEALTH] “Healthcare had become one of the biggest financial challenges we have had to figure out,” says Rachael. “Once the Affordable Care Act went through, our monthly amounts just kept increasing, creating a real issue for us.” In Spring 2020, the Vonderhaars received notice that their premium was increasing to $2,400 a month. It made the decision to switch to FBN Health easy.  Today, the Vonderhaars estimate they are saving $1,000 per month through FBN Health. Their plan still has a higher deductible, but the upfront savings leave them with more money in their pockets for when they do have to make big decisions.  For their family farm, it gives them some breathing room when it comes to buying inputs, and it made the decision much easier when their son Adam graduated college and wanted to come back to the farm.  And, equally as important, it’s been very easy to use.  One of the most significant perks is that they can now use an out-of-state doctor and still be in-network — a big deal when the best hospital for your family is just across the nearby state line. This is something that previous plans hadn’t allowed for.   “ FBN Health alone was enough to make us want to become FBN members,” Rachael says. “It has completely changed how we feel about health coverage.” Get coverage designed for farmers through FBN Health Learn more about  FBN  Health Insurance  and get a free quote, compare plans and see how much you can potentially save by signing up for coverage through FBN Health. 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.


Nov. 23, 2020

by Sarah Bieber

A fifth-generation farmer, J.P. Rhea is a large-scale organic producer just north of Omaha, Neb. His operation farms 10,000 acres of predominantly organic alfalfa, corn, beans and small grains. They also have a cattle feedlot and an ingredient manufacturing facility.  Last winter, he signed his operation - which includes 35 employees - up for coverage through FBN Health . We asked J.P. a few questions about making that decision and what his experience has been so far. Q: What was the major driver that moved you toward FBN Health? Frankly, there aren’t a lot of good healthcare coverage options out there for small businesses, and it can be tough to navigate the marketplace. The whole industry feels stacked against you, almost in a “take it or leave it” way. I appreciated how FBN came in with a different way to look at it and provided up with some alternative options.  In Year One, we’ve seen a savings of more than $50,000. Q: What do savings like that mean for an operation like yours? The biggest thing is that we can continue to provide health coverage to our employees. We’ve seen these costs increase over and over, and the price just gets harder and harder to justify. This step back in cost enables us to continue taking care of our team in the way we want to. We’re a family business, so we want to take care of our employees and their families. They are loyal to us, and being loyal to them is the right thing for us to do.  From the business side, we are fairly close to the Omaha metropolitan area, which means we compete with manufacturing businesses for labor. Health coverage is pretty standard in those jobs, so for us to compete for labor, we need to provide what the market encourages. [GET A FREE QUOTE AND COMPARE PLANS. APPLY FOR COVERAGE THROUGH FBN® HEALTH] Q: How long have you been with FBN ? We first signed up with FBN four or five years ago, and we were still farming some conventional acres. We started out mainly interested in price shopping and having some price transparency on chemicals. Since then, however, we’ve really started to take advantage of more things FBN has to offer.  At every step, we’ve seen really good value. We’ve bought chem, we’ve purchased organic ingredients and seed corn - and now our health coverage and some of our crop insurance are with FBN as well. At every turn, FBN has offered great value or extraordinary service, and health is no different.  We really appreciate what FBN is doing to help farmers and give them better choices and more options. Everything might not work for every farmer, and that’s ok. Across the offerings, we’ve been impressed with how FBN has evolved, and we are excited to continue to work with them in the future. Get coverage designed for farmers through FBN Health Learn more about  FBN  Health Insurance  and get a free quote, compare plans and see how much you can potentially save by signing up for coverage through FBN Health. 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.


Oct. 30, 2020

by Brian Paff

When the Bergen family signed up for coverage through FBN® Health last December, they discovered significant savings for their operation.  “We were able to save $1,900 a month by signing up with FBN Health ,” says Kelsey Bergen, who raises two children with her husband, Mike. Their new plan now includes coverage for both dental and vision as well. “Being able to add that for a small amount feels like a home run for our family.” The economic realities of agriculture The Bergens grow irrigated corn and soybeans as well as dryland corn in Central Nebraska. Mike, a first-generation farmer, knows the economic realities farmers are facing right now all too well. “Agriculture has been tough the last couple of years,” he says. And for many family farmers, health coverage is an expense that can often cut deeply into an operation’s bottom line — even in the best of times.  But particularly against the backdrop of rising production expenses and tight commodity markets, setting aside the time to research and find affordable health coverage for your family and other members of your operation is critically important.  That’s exactly why Farmers Business Network® launched FBN Health to provide farmers with an alternative, offering quality health plan options that are designed with farmers in mind.  [GET A FREE QUOTE AND COMPARE PLANS. APPLY FOR COVERAGE THROUGH FBN® HEALTH] “Being self-employed, health coverage is hard,” says Bergen, who estimates that their family monthly premiums had been rising $500 on average over the past couple years. “We just got to the point where we couldn’t afford it anymore.” The savings they gained have the potential to make an immediate impact. “You know, a total savings for our operation of $23,000 per year — that’s real money,” he says. “And honestly, the coverage that we’re getting through FBN Health is better than what we had.” "A total savings for our operation of $23,000 per year — that’s real money. And honestly, the coverage that we're getting through FBN Health is better than what we had. " - Mike Bergen, Nebraska Kelsey describes the increased sense of financial freedom and flexibility the savings will deliver to their operation as incredibly valuable.  “When you’re on a farm, that money’s probably going to be reinvested. But if there’s projects that we wanted to do to our house, if there’s a trip that we wanted to go on — those are things that would have had to wait before,” she says. “Now we have the option to look at those again because we’re saving a good amount of money on our healthcare costs.” The process of switching to FBN Health was relatively straightforward for the Bergens, too, which was an added bonus.  “Health coverage is a really hard thing to figure out,” says Kelsey. “The application process was really easy through FBN Health. We were able to talk to an agent and they made it easy to fill out the forms online.” Get coverage designed for farmers through FBN Health Learn more about  FBN  Health Insurance  and get a free quote, compare plans and see how much you can potentially save by signing up for coverage through FBN Health. 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.