Farm Bureau Seeks Its Own Health Plan

Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation introduced a bill that would allow the organization to provide members with a health coverage plan option.

The legislation, LRB-4676, aims to reach growers with unique and affordable health insurance that they wouldn’t already be eligible for. Seven other state Farm Bureaus currently operate in this model.

The bill asks the state Legislature to exempt Farm Bureau from state insurance regulation to allow the model, offered only by state Farm Bureaus. Some of these states include Tennessee and Iowa, says WFBF Executive Director of Governmental Relations Jason Mugnaini.

Mugnaini says Farm Bureau members in those states have seen premiums up to 60 percent lower than comparable subsidized plans.

“Farm Bureau is uniquely positioned to provide benefits to people who don’t have employer sponsored coverage and may typically be income ineligible for federal incentives under the Affordable Care Act,” says WFBF President Kevin Krentz.

According to the organization, about 50,000 people whose income normally makes them ineligible for federal incentives are uninsured in Wisconsin. The concept Farm Bureau is proposing could help to reduce the number of uninsured Wisconsinites.

Haily Sand is a Farm Bureau member who stands to benefit from a health insurance option like this. Sand and her husband operate a diversified farm in Northwest Wisconsin. They each have jobs off the farm both for additional income and to have access to health insurance. Sand says beginning farmers don’t have the cash flow to add health insurance to their bottom line. If they do, she says the money is better spent on acquiring land or equipment.

“I definitely support the option to have health insurance through Farm Bureau,” she says.