IFB tackles health care concerns

Illinois Farm Bureau has determined the topic of healthcare to be an important issue for members. Earlier this year, a working group analyzed potential options that could help manage rising medical costs. The group’s recommendations will be shared with delegates at IFB's Annual Meeting in December. In the meantime, IFB will be sharing information on some of these options.

A Sense of the Delegate Body Resolution, introduced by Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kendall and Will counties, called on the Illinois Farm Bureau Board of Directors to identify affordable health care options for members and provide a report to delegates at this year’s annual meeting.

A Health Care Working Group met twice during the year and made several recommendations, which were recently approved by IFB’s Board of Directors.

IFB Vice President Brian Duncan, who serves as chair of the working group, will provide a report to voting delegates at the Dec. 1-4 IFB Annual Meeting.

Short-term recommendations include:

- Investigate developing an Association Health Plan (AHP) to provide to IFB members. Talk to Blue Cross Blue Shield and other carriers to gauge interest and survey IFB membership to also gauge interest in participating.

- Increase state legislator awareness of the high cost farmers pay for health insurance if they do not have access to employer-based health insurance.

- Provide more information to IFB members on health care options, including services that help members navigate the Affordable Care Act.

- Urge counties to provide a wellness event that would offer biometrics/mental health services. IFB should invest dollars and other resources to support these events.

Longer-term recommendations include:

- Recommend the Health Care Working Group be a committee and meet again next year. Maintain communication with the committee on pertinent issues as needed.

- Research and further investigate the benefits and viability of the following other options including:

- Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangement (MEWA).

- Iowa Farm Bureau’s Member Health Benefit plan.

- Consider legislation to establish an actuarial rated health care plan for IFB members.

- Providing additional financial support for Rural Medical Education Programs to attract and retain high-quality doctors to rural areas.

- Telemedicine as an option to improve health care in rural areas.

- Community Foundations as an option to support rural health care and recruit/retain good doctors in rural areas.

- Concierge medicine.