Health insurance options the goal of IFB working group

Information, ideas presented at annual meeting.

Champaign County farmer Darrel Rice, left, and Logan County farmer Dara Entwistle talked about solutions they’ve found to help reduce the cost of health insurance during the “RFD Today” radio program. (Photo by Mike Orso)

By Jim Taylor

A Champaign County farmer motivated to find “options” to counter rising health insurance premiums, Darrel Rice has spent the last year on an Illinois Farm Bureau working group looking into the issue. 

“One of the primary concerns of all self-employed people, including farmers, is what they’re going to do for health insurance and their families,” he said during an interview on the “RFD Today” radio show.  “We all know in the last 15 to 20 years, costs have increased greatly.

Rice calls it a “primary financial concern” for a lot of farm families, and he admits the working group may not be able solve the problem entirely.

“But this at least lets our farmer members know the options that are out there so they can choose what’s best for their families,” said Rice, who’s part of a sixth-generation farm located near Philo.

The working group met over the past year and will share findings at the annual Illinois Farm Bureau meeting in Chicago.

“We’ll have some ideas out there, some choices or some things they maybe haven’t heard of or considered,” Rice said.

And having choices is vitally important. Farmer and independent insurance agent Dara Entwistle can attest to that. Her family farms in Logan County near New Holland.

She said she recently worked with a farm family in Mason County that was spending $47,000 annually under their current health insurance plan (includes premium and deductible). The plan expires Dec. 31.

“When I sat down with them, we figured up their (federal Affordable Care Act) subsidy and what they qualified for and now they’re on a plan that works for them and it’s only going to cost them $5,000,” Entwistle said. 

Open enrollment for farmers and others interested in exploring 2019 health insurance options through the ACA ends Dec. 15. COUNTRY Financial representatives can help farmers and others examine ACA and other health insurance options. 

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